Summary: Message 4 in our exposition of Nehemiah observing Nehemiah's personal preparation for the time when God would answer his prayers.
Chico Alliance Church
"Prepared for Answered Prayer"
We have been reading the diary of a devout Jew employed in exile as cupbearer to the Persian King Artexerxes.
Even though Nehemiah had probably never seen Jerusalem or knew many people in the city, they were on his heart because they were on God's heart.
Upon hearing the news that the people were in a state of paralyzing depression and the walls broken and the gates burned, Nehemiah went directly to intense intercessory prayer concerning the situation.
For days he prayed and fasted and kept up his prayer for four months.
With feeling and fasting, Nehemiah delivered his appeal to the God of Heaven.
Appeal to Hear
God's greatness and Goodness
Confession of sin personal and corporat
Reverence for His name
Appeal to Heed
Make Your servant successful
Grant Your Servant compassion before the King.
Three steps in the building process so far.
1--Learn to recognized needs
2--Develop a passion to bear burdens
3--Engage in intense intercession.
Intercession on behalf of others is a wonderful privilege.
Ephesians 6 makes our commission clear.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
Jesus is not in heaven interceding on our behalf.
but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25
For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Hebrews 9:24
If you want to study the characteristics of a good intercessor, study Luke 11:5-10.
1--They have and established relationship "friend"
2--Awareness of need "had come from a long journey"
3--Committed to help others "come to me"
4--Involved in solutions "shall go to the neighbor at midnight"
5--Humble "I have nothing to offer"
Nehemiah was a great intercessor.
But what else did Nehemiah do during these four months beside intercession?
Often times we use prayer for an excuse not to act.
"I'll pray about it."
Where is that delicate balance between the sovereign hand of God and the faithful hand of man?
Where do we find the union between intensive intercession and aggressive activity?
Why are answers to prayer delayed?
Once again, Nehemiah proves to be a superb model for us to examine and gain insight into these questions.
I. REBUILDING OF THE WALLS 1-7
A. Nehemiah researches the need 1:1-4
B. Nehemiah responds to the need 1:1-2:8
1. By demonstrating pity 1:1-4
2. By depending on prayer for solutions 1:4-11
3. By developing sensitivity to God's direction 2:1-8
a) Consistency in Prayer and performance 2:1
(1) The Time 2:1
Nehemiah has been faithful to continue to pray as well as continue to carry out his assigned duties as cupbearer all through this time.
God is always working behind the scenes to bring about desired ends.
In this case He is softening the heart of the king and allowing time for the preparation of the heart of Nehemiah.
Chapter 2:1-8 records the circumstances surrounding the answer to Nehemiah's prayer.
God can move the heart of kings to His ways.
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1
Such is the case here.
For four months, Nehemiah waited for God to move the heart of Nehemiah, each day expecting to receive the answer for success in the venture and compassion before the king.
It was a delicate matter because Artaxerxes was the one who suspended work on the walls in the first place.
Nehemiah has confidence in the greatness and goodness of God and was willing to watch and pray.
Waiting is not an exercise we are willing to cultivate.
We live in an society that demands instant gratification. Instant oatmeal, fast food, instant credit, 1 hour photo processing, drive in dairies, drive in churches, instant on TV.
Because of it we have developed little waiting room skill.
If it doesn't happen now, I will make it happen.
I don't have time to wait on the Lord.
A quicker end justifies accelerated means.
In the process we lose quality.
Haste does make waste.
God is never in a hurry. He takes the time necessary to bring about the right means, the right process as well as the right ends. We must rest in His infinite wisdom. There are many levels on which God is bringing about His plan of which we are totally ignorant until after the fact. When will we learn that He sees the whole picture and is much better qualified to bring about the desired ends.