Friday, June 28, 2019

A Slave’s Prayer

Submitted by Curtis Tucker
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.  Then I said,
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!  We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations.  But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants.  O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”  (Nehemiah 1:4-11, NLT)
A Slave’s Prayer
The story of Nehemiah provides quite a lesson in humility, prayer, commitment, vision, and a multitude of other themes. Nehemiah is a Jewish slave within the Persian Empire. However, he has a position of great responsibility; he is King Artaxerxes’ cup-bearer. A position entrusted to only the most trustworthy and loyal of people. 
On this day, Nehemiah has received some troubling news concerning his hometown of Jerusalem. The city is in ruins and it appears that the people left there are unable to correct the terrible situation. So, Nehemiah goes to prayer. 
Let’s slowly read through Nehemiah's prayer. First of all, he considers the goodness and greatness of God. He calls upon the mercy of God and acknowledges his own, and his people’s, sin. Secondly, he reminds God of His promises; an act that speaks of Nehemiah’s faith in that God will honor His word. 
I notice that as he prayed, Nehemiah did not ask for the obvious. Although he is troubled by the news that the city of Jerusalem is in ruins, the gates have been burned, and the walls have been reduced to rubble that is not the focus of his prayer. My first thought would have been to ask for some kind of miracle in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. But, Nehemiah has the correct thought process. You could say that he prays for the important rather than the urgent. As he concludes his prayer, Nehemiah asks for three things; 1) his prayer would be heard, 2) he would have success, and 3) he would have favor with the King.  

What prayer are you asking God to hear? Does it concern the "mission" where God wants to use you?
In order to fulfill God's plan, where do you need success today?
In order to fulfill God's plan, with whom do you need favor today?

O Lord, hear my prayer ...

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