Mary Roper - Nehemiah's Prayers - Mudgee, Australia - 2016

James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” That means, “has much strength in it.” Nehemiah saw the need in the Kingdom, saw the need among the people, saw his own personal need, and saw the enemy and he prayed. “The effectual fervent prayer ...” Nehemiah was a captive, the king’s cup-bearer and he was later exalted to governor. It didn’t matter if he was a captive, a builder on the wall, or a prisoner, he prayed.  Sometimes we say our circumstances hinder us. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem and could have stayed over fourteen years there.


They told him about the condition of Jerusalem, “The people were in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” That affected Nehemiah. Nehemiah could have said, “I’m OK, it’s really too bad about those people.” Praying people allow the need of the Kingdom to affect them in a deep, deep way.  Praying people feel the need of their brethren.

Nehemiah “sat down and mourned and wept and prayed before the God of heaven.” Some things hit us hard and make us heavy. The best place to take them is into the presence of God. He wept, mourned and fasted, preparing to meet with the God of Heaven. Praying people understand that there is need of preparing themselves. Praying people crave the presence of God. I want to know more of the preparation, honouring God.  

First, that He is the great God of Heaven. "My need is so great and I pour out my heart." Nehemiah gave great honour to God, gave Him His rightful place in his heart. The more we pray, the more we understand that God can meet our needs. Why would we not understand that and that God is so great?   

Second, Nehemiah acknowledged their transgression and sin. Praying people recognize the error of their ways. The more you’re in the presence of God, the more you understand that, “I am just sinful.” Nehemiah recognized the sins of his fathers and his own sin. Verse 6, “We have sinned, both I and my father’s house.” He was understanding. "I need to acknowledge my transgression, where I fail." Praying people are honest people. When people pray, God helps them to understand what they are. I like that Nehemiah went on and rehearsed the promises of God. How valuable were the promises of God. He loves that we lean on His promises and trust them. Praying people lean on the promises of God.


Third, Nehemiah prayed for the people. We are always Christ like when we intercede for another. Nehemiah would not have stood in the presence of the king for about four months after he prayed this prayer. “Remember me, remember the need of the Kingdom, that there is an enemy.” He was praying until the day he came into the presence of the king and the king saw his sadness.  Nehemiah 2:3, “The place of my fathers’ sepulchres lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire.”  He was saying, “How can I be anything else but sad?” The king said, “What is your request?" He didn’t have time to go back to the place of prayer but he had the spirit of prayer. We can take the spirit of prayer into our day. We have already, in the morning, established that spirit of prayer. Praying people can take that spirit of prayer into their day. Nehemiah kept on praying. They don’t stop praying just because their prayer isn’t fully answered. Sometimes we don’t see the answer at first but just keep praying.

Nehemiah went and didn’t tell his mission. There were enemies there. He was in the city three days before he looked at the wall and viewed it.  Praying people consider the situation.  He said, “We are reproached, we need to rise up and build the wall,” and he told them how.  Praying people have an experience to share. “Let us rise up and build.” Praying people have the ability to inspire others to a godly work. Jesus had a wonderful effect on His disciples when they asked, “Teach us to pray.”

They rose up to build. Nehemiah drew a very clear line with the enemy. Verse 20, “Then answered I them, and said unto them, 'The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.'” Praying people draw clear lines with the enemy. We want to pray so we can draw really clear lines with the enemy of our soul.  

People who didn’t know how to build were building because they had a heart to build. Praying people willingly offer themselves. The enemy came again, the enemy was angry. They were wroth and they mocked but the enemy couldn’t hinder a praying man. They kept building. In Nehemiah 4:8-9, they heard the conspiracy but it says, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.” The enemy didn’t hinder a praying man. The enemy would like to paralyse us with fear. The enemy cannot paralyse praying people.

Verse 20, Our God shall fight for us.” He armed his servants and the people. They were ready to fight if they needed to, but knew, “God will fight for us.”

Nehemiah 6 tells of the same enemy, but with different tactics. “Let’s talk this over.” They came seeking five times. A praying man understood that, “I can never say, ‘Yes,’ to the enemy.” Praying people know the difference between right and wrong. Nehemiah was a praying man. Nehemiah 6:10, “Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah and he said, 'Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.'” Nehemiah, a praying man, discerned, “This is not right.” Praying people discern what is the will of God and what is not. Nehemiah said, “No, I am not going into the temple.”

Later, there was need to set someone in charge of Jerusalem. He didn’t choose his relative or those two men because they were his favourites but He chose them because they were faithful men and feared God. I am grateful that in this Kingdom we have praying men and women we can trust.

In Nehemiah 12, the wall was finished. There was great rejoicing and great joy because the wall was finished. The joy was heard far off. Praying people don’t seek glory for themselves, praying people give glory to God. Three times Nehemiah prayed, “Remember me, O my God.”  I wonder if Nehemiah was saying, “Just give me courage.” He needed courage to go out and set right the wrong, courage to set things right for the Kingdom’s sake, to set things right for the priesthood’s sake.


Go out praying. Praying people live close to Christ. I hope we pray.