Summary: Part 2 of a 7 part series based on biblical people and how they connected to God through prayer. feel free to use any or all of this...
Learning to Pray
Pt.2 Nehemiah’s Confession
Last week we started talking about prayer…
How many of you ever prayed the bed time prayer? It was one that my mom had us pray as kids… we even had a plaque on the wall with the prayer on it… I don’t know about you but this prayer used to scare the snot out of me!
Prayer was confusing to me as a kid… especially the Lord’s prayer, I never understood it! It left me confused and uncertain on how to pray… Like many of us when we were kids, I started to look at prayer as a means to get stuff… you know, treat God like Santa! Instead of the Lord’s prayer, I had Steve’s prayer: Dear God, give us today our daily fun and tickets to the amusement park! And lead us not into home work… or chores around the house! But deliver us from the bully. And may my mom not get mad at my report card, for hers is the power and the fury in which I fear! amen! Today, I know that prayer has power, and that through prayer, God does the incredible. But I will still fall into old patterns and pray in ways that afterward I will say to myself, “what did I just say?” It’s like I said last week, the “ I don’t want to think to hard prayer…” Every night I pray for the girls before bed, and every night I say the same thing… Let me ask, how were your prayers this last week? Did you pray? How did it go?
As I said last week, the average Christian struggles with prayer because they find it confusing, and they are uncertain what to even pray.
When we think about prayer, we can sometimes be frightened and don’t even want to attempt it because we are afraid we might mess it up! Or worse, we might offend God! But as we heard last week, God wants to hear from you, he wants to know what is on your heart, he wants to know you and for you to know him.
This week we continue our series on how to pray from a man who did what many thought was impossible, yet with God’s help he accomplished all that he set his mind to do, and he began with a simple prayer of confession and repentance. If you have your bible, turn to Nehemiah 1:4
4As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.5And I said, "O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. 7We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, "If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there." 10They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man."
Have you ever met those ugly people? The kind that just turn you off, not because of their physical appearance, but because of their attitude? They are the type that always have it worse than you, or better that you! They are ether the victim, or they want to control everything. Nothing nice comes out of their mouths, all they have are complaints, whines, or back bites. Their problem is arrogance. They think that everything is about them, or for them. And if there is one thing that God hates is arrogance in his people!
Nehemiah comes to God in prayer the only way we should ever, humbly. Nehemiah confesses that God is great and mighty, that he alone is the keeper of covenants and is stead fast in love. Nehemiah bows before God as if he were a king, because he is. He is our king, our Lord, and as such he comes to God wrapped in humility. How often do we fail to come before God in humility? Whining? Complaining? Talking bad about others? How often do we come demanding? How often do we come expecting? How often do we come to God looking to justify our actions? To explain ourselves?