The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven."
Today's Morsel: Most of us have read the book of Nehemiah, but perhaps many of us may not have captured the insight of Nehemiah. Somewhat like Daniel, even though Nehemiah is in captivity, he has found favor with the king. But please note, both Daniel and Nehemiah have God first and foremost in their lives. They both seem to have grasped what was later written in Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the Kingdom of God. They are both prayer warriors, if I may use that term. Before we can find favor with those over us, we need to have a relationship in prayer with the King of all kings; Jesus! Even though Nehemiah was the king's cup bearer, which is no easy task, when he heard the news that the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and the gates burned and the city destroyed, he sat down and wept. He mourned, fasted, and prayed to God. By all accounts, he may have prayed to God for almost four months before he appeared to ask permission from the king to go rebuild the wall. Even when the king asked him what was wrong and what was his request, he didn't answer but prayed to God again. This shows the wisdom that he has now obtained. What I find in this story more than rebuilding the wall again is this: If you are going to do a work for the Lord, you need to have a committed prayer life. You always want God to go before you, before you take on any task because you want to make sure that you are in God's will; and when you need resources, you want to know that God has already moved upon the hearts of people that people will provide what you need them from. Not only did the king allow Nehemiah to go, but he gave him previsions for the resources and a military escort to Jerusalem as well.
Sing: Hear my cry O' God attend unto my prayer, from the ends of the earth will I cry unto to Thee, and when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to that rock that is higher than I, so much higher than I.
Thought for Today: Prayer still works.