Pray and Work!
Scripture reading for May 8th: Nehemiah 1-2
Sometimes prayer is used as an excuse for doing nothing. “I’ll pray about it” is an easy answer when asked to serve in a ministry or do a project. When we truly pray, God can move on our heart and turn it to do His will and cause us to want what He wants! (Psalm 37:4)
Nehemiah was an Israelite who was cup bearer to the king of Persia. He held a position of trust and as a close adviser and bodyguard for the king. He heard a report from those who had returned to Jerusalem earlier to rebuild the temple. They told how the work was at a standstill and the walls were broken down and gates were burned with fire. He began to weep, fast, and pray before his God. (Nehemiah 1:4-11) Nehemiah prayed and confessed the sins of his own people. He reminded God of His covenant with Moses to bring the people back if they would call on Him. He asked for favor to approach the king. (Psalm 5:11-12)
As he was doing his job before the king, God opened the king’s heart to ask him about his sad countenance. Nehemiah again prayed quietly and answered the king. He asked for help in rebuilding Jerusalem and it’s walls. God granted him favor and his prayers were answered. He had been used by the Lord because he fasted and prayed and allowed God to move him into place to do something to bring the answer! (Nehemiah 2:7-9) Prayer often activates faith that brings action. Note that Nehemiah continues to pray about everything along the way. There are 10 recorded prayers of his in this book.
Is there something that really moves your heart with pity? Is there a need that you see that is not being met or an injustice that is calling to you for help? Why not begin praying and fasting and opening your heart to the Lord about that situation? As you do, be open for action that you may be able to take to bring about change, healing, or a godly answer. The Lord wants to move our hearts through prayer to godly work. The result will be a joyous celebration when we realize what the Lord has accomplished as we prayed and worked! In the end of this story, Nehemiah has rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days!