40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 12 – Prayer


1The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.  They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.  “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’  10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 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. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”  I was cupbearer to the king.  (Nehemiah 1:1 – 11)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

The book of Nehemiah is rightly known for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile.  It is also a great book of prayers and very relevant to our theme.  Nehemiah’s approach to prayer is inspiring and convicting.  Today’s passage captures Nehemiah’s prayer as he contemplates his role in God’s mission to rebuild the wall.  There are some key lessons in the prayer with regards to our communication with God when contemplating our call to action.

Please read the passage above and answer the question below.


What are the components of Nehemiah’s prayer that resonate with you as you think about your contribution to God’s kingdom?

10 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 12 – Prayer

  1. Components of Nehemiah’s prayer:
    Reflective, grateful,sad, happy, it also has reverence for God. Repentance and confession of sin were also in Nehemiah’s prayer. You can see also how hopeful he is, and confident God will answer his prayer and the request/favor he was asking will be granted to him. It also has humility in his prayer being a servant, cupbearer to the king.
    All these components resonate with me. When I pray, I reflect on God’s goodness to me, I thank Him for all the blessings, I ask forgiveness for all my shortcomings, and in humility, I lift up all my requests and supplications, committing all in His mighty power, and confident that my Lord is in control of everything. Sometimes in my prayer I may also ask Him questions and just open my heart completely for I know my God knows me well.

  2. What stands out in Nehemiah’s prayer is that he also accepted blame for what was happening to the exiled Jews. He prayed for the forgiveness of his sins, his ancestors’ sins and the Israelites’ sins. He did not see the situation as ‘their problem’ but also his. He fasted and prayed for many days which is an indication of how saddened he was and how deeply he wanted restoration for the Israelites and their return to loving and obeying God.

  3. Nehemiah first put himself in a position to hear from God through repentance on behalf of his people. He mourned wept fasted and offered prayers to God. He praised and worshipped God for who He is. He reminded God of His covenant with His people.. He made his request known to God. He promised to ensure the people return to God. He reminded God it was His temple they were building for His Glory to be exalted above all nations.

  4. Nehemiah’s Prayer is very genuine.
    He was not praying for himself but for All his people.
    Very encouraging to read as I think many people are self absorbed in their praying.

  5. Nehemiah began his praise with a sincere exultation to God. Though he could have begun by requesting God’s help or confessing the sins of his people, he still started from a place of praise. This is a reminder to me to not follow a “script” when praying to God, but to let genuine praise be a priority component.

  6. Here are some aspects of Nehemiah’s prayer that resonate with me:
    First, he had a vested interest in the state of the people in God hence he enquired about their circumstances. Once he was update of their plight he was broken and moved to engage in prayer.
    Second, his concept of God as just, faithful, sovereign and engaged in the lives of his people after their grave misconduct.
    Third, after hearing the report, he persevered in prayer to God for some period of time reflected in the clause “listen to the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night”.
    Fourth, he identified himself with the sins of his ancestors and his contemporaries.
    Fifth, his prayer was based on the word of God, that is, the promise that if / when the people were sent into exile due to their violation of the covenant and they repented then God would reverse their fortunes and bring them out of exile and back to the promised land.
    Sixth, he prayed specifically that God would sovereignly work through the king of the Medo-Persian empire and grant Nehemiah favour to contribute to a solution.

  7. What a beautiful reminder of the “construct” of a prayer.
    Acknowledging God for who He is
    Confession – personal and corporate Repentance – personal and corporate
    Reminding God of His covenant and His response when confession occurs.
    Asking for favor if He so chooses
    Wow! I read this out loud and was convicted because sometimes, most times, I rush to asking for favor. Lord God of the heavens, forgive me.

  8. The following components resonate with me: recognizing God’s sovereignty and His concern for His children; realizing that God hears and answers my prayer not only for my sins but also for the sins of others for whom I pray; imploring God to listen to my prayer even though I never had to “remind” Him to do that; asking God for success in whatever I do; and acknowledging that I am His servant.

    Perhaps though the most significant thing is not only crying out to God on behalf of my vulnerable country (symbolized by a country without walls) but actually doing something about the situation, with God’s help. The greatest lesson re: kingdom building here is not being afraid to step out by faith, even if I feel alone. God is with me so I can trust Him to do the impossible!

  9. The components of Nehemiah’s prayer that resonate with me is his confession and honesty. He does not hide the unpleasant truth of his and his people’s disobedience.

    It is only when we confess honestly and truthfully with God that we liberate ourselves to not fall prisoner to our sins/secrets but to let God in on them so He can do his work of restoration and healing.

  10. Thank you all for your inspiring thoughts about this beautiful prayer!

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