“The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.’


As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, ‘O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses’.” Nehemiah 1:1-7 (ESV)



Nehemiah heard the devastating news about his homeland and how Jerusalem’s wall was broken. The city was in shambles, and it would have been subject to wild animals and enemies. The people would not have been safe living there. Nehemiah was so moved by the situation in Jerusalem that he wept, fasted, and prayed. He didn’t start telling everyone about the news. He didn’t initially create a support group. He simply allowed the state of his nation to so move him that he started a conversation with the only One who could change the situation. Nehemiah prayed for four months before he used his position to create a potential opportunity for change. It is also worth considering how God was working in strategically delivering the news to Nehemiah and Nehemiah’s response in prayer, resulting in the king extending favor to Nehemiah. Jerusalem was in ruins; the nation was completely devastated, but God was still working. The perceived permanent outcome of Jerusalem was only a temporary situation, as God would use Nehemiah to gather support to rebuild that which had been devastated.

We all face challenges in our communities, countries, and the world. However, too often our first response is to participate in the commentary before we pray. The conversation is readily available. Honestly, sometimes we don’t even get around to praying. Yet, all of our positioning and arguing holds little power to the power of prayer. In one moment, God can change the course of a nation. Nehemiah’s experience of receiving favor from the king and rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem shows that his time in prayer made a way where there may have been resistance. It wasn’t easy, but Nehemiah started on his knees. We have to be careful about the commentary that we are speaking about situations around us if we are not willing to pray. When was the last time we allowed the state of affairs in our countries to break our hearts instead of breaking our friendships with others? Just like Nehemiah experienced, the power is released when we change our posture. God is calling people to pray for their communities, nations, and the world. When we just talk to each other about issues at hand, we miss the power that could be released through first asking God for his favor and wisdom and then participating as part of the solution. Let’s follow in Nehemiah’s footsteps by praying, preparing, and participating, and watch God do something extraordinary.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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