Praying Through the Bible #34 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: Nehemiah 4:7-9
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 33 messages in this series.
This is message #34 titled “How to Have a Successful Prayer Life”
In 1952, a doctoral student at Princeton University asked, “What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?” The visiting lecturer, Albert Einstein, said: “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer.” Well, people have been “finding out about prayer” for hundreds of years — not through research papers, but by the experience of praying and having prayers answered. Have you ever wondered why some people’s prayers seem to be answered and others’ are not? Have you ever wanted to know the way to be successful in your prayer life? The Bible actually answers these questions for us, and we will see these reasons in the life of Nehemiah from the passage we just read.
As you know, we began talking about Nehemiah last week. We saw how he was deeply concerned about the lack of progress that was being made by the Jewish exiles who had returned to Jerusalem from Persia. So, he decided to do something about it. He went to the king, and asked for permission to travel to the land of Israel to lead the people in building up the city. The king was supportive of him, and gave him permission to do as he wished. Now, Nehemiah is in the city. He has rallied the people together, and they are rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
As with any great work that anyone sets out to do for the glory of God, there will be opposition. Nehemiah’s opposition comes in the form of San-bal-lat, a Samaritan and an official in the Persian Empire; Tobiah, an Ammonite who may have been the governor of Ammon; along with the Arabians and the Ammonites who plotted to attack Jerusalem to prevent the Jews from building the wall of the city.
From these few verses, let’s see how Nehemiah dealt with this opposition through prayer and came out on top.
1. Nehemiah was consistent in prayer. He says in verse 9 of our passage that despite the threat of attack, “nevertheless we made our prayer unto God.” Even in that hostile environment, Nehemiah and his people continued to pray. They did not let the threat of war get them off of their duty. Too often, when we face opposition, conflict, or some negativity, we allow that situation to cause us to get off of our game — we stop praying and stop doing what we have been doing, and try to deal with the situation on our own and in our own power. But Nehemiah didn’t change his plan once he faced opposition, he went right on praying and building. Why was he able to do this?
2. Nehemiah was persistent in prayer. Verse 9 tells us that Nehemiah and his people were building and praying “day and night.” Persistent prayer is praying about the same thing until you get an answer. As long as Nehemiah was being threatened by those who wished to hinder the building of Jerusalem, he kept on praying for the safety of his workers and for God to deliver them from their enemies.
3. Nehemiah shared the burden of prayer. Notice Nehemiah’s words: he said “WE made OUR prayer to God.” Nehemiah did not try to do all of the praying himself. He got others on his team to pray with him. Just as the building of the walls was a community effort, the praying was a community effort. God blesses group prayer in a very special way. Jesus said in Matthew 18:18-20: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.