A Heart For Others
Nehemiah’s prayer, as given in these verses, comprises the prayers which he prayed day and night, during the period of his mourning and fasting (v. 4 comp. v. 6), to his faithful and covenant God, to obtain mercy for his people, and the divine blessing upon his project for their assistance.
Nine prayers of Nehemiah are recorded in this book.4 Most of them are quite short
Nehemiah challenges us to prayer based on an understanding of God’s purpose and will as found in his Word. He also reminds us that we can always begin again in our relationship with God if we return to him in humility.
The word ḥesed (translated here “love” in “covenant of love”) is used frequently in the Old Testament. It is closely related to the covenant and contains the idea of loyalty.8 It emphasizes God’s mercy and love to his people. “With those who love him and obey his commands” shows that covenant love or loyalty was to be reciprocal. God’s people are to obey God’s commands, which express his will. The mention of the covenant should always cause us to recognize God’s faithfulness and our responsibility. As Fensham says, “Love and the Law are the two pillars on which the covenant rests.”9
1:6 Nehemiah knew that God would hear; he was asking God to take action. One of the utterly astounding characteristics of biblical psalms is that the psalmist never doubted that God heard his prayer. How great is God that he can pay attention to each of our prayers, millions of them around the world, individually and simultaneously! Our minds cannot comprehend it, but God is beyond our comprehension.
Even though he was a leader, Nehemiah emphasized his identification with the people and with their sins. Leaders must not consider themselves superior to others; admission of fault will not ruin effectiveness
Nehemiah realized that God justly punished Israel, but he reminded God that this very situation had been anticipated in Deut 4:25–31 and of his promise of mercy, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
This prayer is actually a prayer of repentance. It can be outlined as follows: (a) invocation to God; (b) confession of sins; (c) request to the LORD to remember his people; (d) request for success.
Nehemiah’s greatness came from asking great things of a great God and attempting great things in reliance on him.
Nehemiah Speak’s with The King
four months had passed since Nehemiah received news from Jerusalem.
Nehemiah began to pray about the condition of Jerusalem, he had no idea that he would be the one to do the work.
God’s work and our planning are not contradictory. J. White notes, “Prayer is where planning starts.”24 Nehemiah modeled good leadership; he prayed, planned, and acted in dependence on God and submission to his guidance. Neither is research contrary to dependence on God. Nehemiah knew who the officials were with whom he would have to deal, so he requested the credentials he would need as the project progressed