O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome
God, who keeps his covenant of love with those
who love him and obey his commands, let your
ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the
prayer your servant is praying before you day
Nehemiah 1:5-6 NIV
In the weeks preceding Christmas, our pastor preached a powerful series of messages from the book of Nehemiah. As Christmas festivities drew to a close and the New Year approached, I found myself continuing the search for truth, wisdom and instruction from God through Nehemiah’s experiences.
Unable to get past Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter one, I found myself praying for my own countrymen and asking God to gather the hearts of Christians across our land.
The hearts of Christians are often scattered and fragmented with personal needs, concerns and desires taking precedence over the need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. But through Nehemiah’s prayer God reminded me of the power of one person who, in obedience, follows God’s calling and continues in prayer.
Nehemiah was able to pull God’s people in Jerusalem together because he prayed:
LORD, you are great and awesome. Hear the prayer of your
servant. I confess the sins of your people against you. But
remember, You said… LORD, be attentive to our prayers.
Give me success today by granting me favor. (Italics my
After many mornings spent personalizing Nehemiah’s prayer and asking God to teach me, I understood the simplicity of Nehemiah’s request:
1. LORD, hear my prayer
2. Focus me
3. Grant me favor in your work
Nehemiah was then able to pull together the resources and people needed to complete the work of rebuilding broken Jerusalem. I wonder! Could we rebuild broken churches, communities and ultimately our nation if all God’s children began to pray, “LORD, hear my prayer, focus me and grant me favor in YOUR work?” That is my prayer as I also pray, “LORD, gather our hearts.”
© Joyce Powell