Nehemiah is not a preacher!
Nor a prophet, priest, or any other type “cleric.”
He is a working man, a “butler” to a foreign King … as the Bible Book bearing his names makes abundantly clear.
He never rises to the height of Daniel in his praying, nor the beauty of Habakkuk, nor the verbosity of Solomon!
But he did excel in short, quick prayers … “ejaculatory” prayers the old-timers called them.
Nehemiah, a layman whom God used to rebuild the walls surrounding the City of Jerusalem near the end of the Babylonian Captivity! Yes, he single-handedly organized over forty work teams who got the job done!
Doing so (in fifty-two days) with exemplary determination and creativity!
While I may share one more Lesson about Nehemiah (tomorrow) … one illustration of the man’s constant walk with God is absolutely outstanding!
This Text recounts a dialogue between Nehemiah and the King for whom he “worked,” served as “cupbearer.” Watch the ease with which Nehemiah segues back and forth between conversation and intercession!
“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? SO I PRAYED TO THE GOD OF HEAVEN. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.” Nehemiah 2:4-5
The first sentence, a question, comes from the King to Nehemiah. “For what dost thou make request?” In other words, “What do you need?”
The next sentence, standing before an ancient Monarch, is PRAYER! “So I prayed to the God of Heaven!” Praying to God, talking to the Creator, while also conversing with a Dictator!
Then, immediately, back to the conversation at hand! “If it please the King ….” Or, essentially … “Here’s my list of needs, Sir!”
And Nehemiah does this repeatedly throughout his Book, throughout his building career, no doubt throughout his entire life!
He gives new meaning to the Lord’s comment, “Men ought ALWAYS to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1, ALWAYS!
Or to Paul’s “Pray without ceasing.” 1st Thessalonians 5:17
Pray, pray, pray!
Interlace every activity of the day with prayer!
That was Nehemiah’s expertise!
Granted, Nehemiah was not an illustrious man.
But he was a faithful man, a dependable man, a praying man.
And one who rightfully belongs in this study of the great prayer warriors of the Bible.
Oh, how we need to be more like him. And if so … each of us would, no doubt, quickly shoot “arrows” of prayer heavenward today, forty or fifty times at least!
“My Wife asked me to take the garbage to the dumpster. And as I prayed for the missionary who spoke at Church last night … I cheerfully tied the garbage bag and walked out the door.”
Let’s multiply the foregoing example time and time again, Nehemiah style, in our daily lives.
Perhaps you already do.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell