Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 3: Prayer: The Foundation Of All

And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah, and I asked them concerning the Jews… And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. (Neh. 1:1-2; 2:1)

Nehemiah mourned for a number of days after hearing of the Jews’ plight. We are not told the number of days or the number of times he fasted, but we know that his total time of mourning before God was three or four months. How can we know this? Nehemiah first learned of the Jews’ condition in the month of Chislev. However, he does not discuss the matter with the king for the first time until the month of Nisan, which is several months later.2

The lesson? Too often we do things rashly or without thought or wisdom from God. Prayer (particularly when it’s sustained over time) will bring us into the wisdom and favor of God, softening people’s hearts and weakening the enemy’s grip. The miraculous favor Nehemiah enjoyed was being laid up in store for him and for the people of God every time he sought the Lord over those months of mourning for their condition.

God, give us grace to continually plead before You for the advancement of Your kingdom and the progress of this work. As we seek Your favor, let Your hand be upon us for good as it was upon Nehemiah.

2 For example, in 2008 Chislev begins in late November; Nisan begins in late March, 2009.

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