When you read through Nehemiah's prayer following the dismal report of Jerusalem's vulnerability and shame, you can see that his heart was broken. But it wasn't the ruined walls that broke Nehemiah's heart. It wasn't the burned gates. It wasn't even the desolate temple. There was only one factor in this entire situation that wounded Nehemiah to the heart: God's name was disgraced. The pagans not only mocked God's people, but they mocked God Himself.
Nehemiah experienced agony at the thought of the holy name of Yahweh being ridiculed by the pagans. So he went to his knees, and he prayed the threefold prayer in Nehemiah 1.
One individual plus God is a majority in every situation.
First, Nehemiah began his prayer with praise (Nehemiah 1:5). When we pray, we must acknowledge that we stand before an awesome God who deserves our deepest reverence and respect. Because of Jesus, we can come to Him boldly—but not arrogantly. If we want God to hear our prayers, then we must approach Him prayerfully, not pridefully. Our prayers will have no power until we learn to praise Him and recognize our complete dependence on Him.
Second, he persisted in prayer (Nehemiah 1:1, 1:4, 2:1). Nehemiah was a prayer warrior—he prayed, fasted, wept, and sought God's will for four months from the time he received the report about Jerusalem. Why? Was God reluctant to bless Nehemiah? No, God is eager to bless us, but His chosen means of distributing His blessings is through the power of prayer. Through prayer, God is able to perform miracles in and through us, but we must be willing to do what He wants, the way He wants it done. So while Nehemiah persisted in prayer, God was preparing him for battle.
Third, through prayer, he prepared himself to do whatever God asked him to do (Nehemiah 1:11). In prayer, Nehemiah identified himself as God's humble servant, and he asked God to give success to him as His servant, going about His business. You see, prayer is not an excuse for doing nothing. Prayer does not absolve us of the responsibility to act. When we pray, we are reporting for duty. We must be ready to surrender, to sacrifice, and to serve.
Nehemiah understood the simple equation: one + prayer = great power. One individual plus God is a majority in every situation. Are you ready to see the power of God work in and through you? Then watch out! As you pray, great power is coming.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of Nehemiah's prayer. May I humble myself before You, remembering that everything I have comes from You. Give me the humility and thankfulness to respond to Your call with "Here I am; send me!" I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name" (Nehemiah 1:11).