May 14, 2022
Have you ever studied the book of Nehemiah in-depth? I sort of knew he built the wall of Jerusalem, but until recently I never fully studied Nehemiah, his life, what he accomplished and his character.
I decided to study Nehemiah 1, which contains such an amazing prayer. But what made it so powerful? And is there something here that we can apply to our own lives? I was surprised at what I found. Here are the 5 Rs I found in Nehemiah's prayer:
"I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,"
Nehemiah 1:5 (NKJV)
Nehemiah started his prayer not with a request, but with praise. He recognized God for who He is:
1) above all
Starting prayer with praising God for who He is is a great way go through prayer with a thankful and humble heart!
"We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses."
Nehemiah also acknowledged that he and his countrymen didn't deserve God's forgiveness or mercy. They broke God's covenant. In saying this, he humbled himself.
Repentance can be hard, but it is necessary. When we admit the wrong things we've done, it helps us recognize our place, and our need for God and His redeeming power.
"'But if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.'
Nehemiah also asked God to remember His promise: that He'd let His people return. By remembering, and asking God to remember, Nehemiah also recognized the hope he could have in God, and realized his prayer was not prayed in vain.
Remembering what God has done helps us to pray with hope.
"Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand."
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It puts God in His place, us in our place, and acknowledges that we are redeemed by His power alone! It is a good reminder that as we pray, we should pray according to God's will as His servants and children, in obedience. We belong to Him, and He wants the best for us!
One thing I never noticed until looking at cross references was that nearly all of Nehemiah's prayer was quoted from Scripture! It seems that he partly modeled it after Solomon's temple dedication prayer in 1 Kings 8, in the manner he asks God to hear.
Most of his prayer, however, stems from Deuteronomy 30:
Deu 30:2-4, 8, 10 NKJV
2 "and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 "that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 "If any of you are driven out to the farthest [parts] under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. ... 8 "And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. ... 10 "if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
Knowledge of the Bible is so important in our prayers, because it helps us to pray according to God's will! In the hard times is easy to become depressed, or maybe try to brush off problems. In Nehemiah's case, however, his knowledge of Scripture helped him identify the problem, find that there was still hope in the situation, and then ask God to help solve the issue.
If you're wondering, Nehemiah's prayer was answered 4 months later, and little did he know he himself would be part of the answer!
This week, I'd like us to challenge ourselves. How is our prayer life going? Are we recognizing, repenting, remembering, redeeming, and recalling?
Which point stuck out to you? We'd love to hear! Just contact us below: