So far in our story, Nehemiah (God’s man in captivity serving as a cupbearer to a pagan king) was told of the destruction of the walls of his homeland – Jerusalem. When he heard this, he sat down and wept. He fasted and prayed before the Lord.
In today’s reading his prayer gives birth to action. This is an interesting paradox. How long do you just pray? When do you act? You and I must pray until God gives us the peace and freedom to move forward. Then we must respond immediately – anything else is disobedience.
Fear is the greatest obstacle. This was certainly true of Nehemiah. He risked his life going into the presence of the king in a depressed state. Nehemiah was such a leader and faithful worker, that the king was instead concerned about him. He asked him questions, and Nehemiah shared his heart with the king. He had been praying for this opportunity.
Nehemiah had prayed for and now requested some big-ticket items. He asked for a couple of year leave of absence, for letters to safely get him to Jerusalem, and for supplies. This is an unusual request, since the king had been the one to destroy this in the first place.
God honored Nehemiah’s fasting and prayers. He blessed him with a positive response from the king. Now he begins his journey of leadership to rebuild the walls.
What God-sized things are you fasting and praying for? The salvation of a friend or family member? Revival in our church and our city? The opportunity to do something big for God? Do you sense God may be telling you it’s time to act? If so – what are you waiting for? You’re on the brink of the best thing you’ve ever done.
By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor