And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:5-11)
“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so!” So a young boy replied in Sunday School one day when asked how to define faith. Do you pray in faith? When you pray, AS you pray, do you really believe God is hearing you… that God is inclining His ear to you… that He is turning His face toward you in favor? When you ask, in prayer, for God to do something amazing, something even miraculous, do you do so as though He is really going to respond to you in this way? How much faith do we act in as we pray?
Few prayers are found in the Bible that were prayed with more faith than the prayer in Nehemiah 1:5-11. In that prayer are four powerful ways to pray in faith… believing what IS so:
- Pray persistently. The fact that God did not immediately answer Nehemiah’s prayer (he prayed this prayer for four months!) built Nehemiah’s faith. He was about to undertake an incredibly difficult role… he needed great faith to accomplish it. Sometimes God delays, not to be cruel or capricious, but to strengthen our faith and resolve as we continue to pray.
- Pray with purity. Nehemiah not only was persistent in his prayer, but he prayed with purity. He confessed his sins and the sins of his people before the Lord. We need to pray with purity as we pray.
- Pray the promises of God. Nehemiah not only prayed reminding God of Who He was, but He prayed reminding God of he promises He had made… even promises He had made to Moses in days past!
- Pray particularly. We need to pray specifically when and when God answers the prayer we will know it’s His answer because the ask was so detailed. Nehemiah prayed for success and favor as he approached the king. Your prayer may need to be far more specific than it is. It takes little faith to pray generally, but much faith to pray in specifics. Be bold enough, by faith, to ask God to do what only HE can do for you. And then, taking Him at His Word, relying on His character, asking with purity in our lives and praying persistently, we can see God do great and glorious things through our life!
FOR REFLECTION: Think about the prayer you prayed or will pray today. How specific is it? What are you really asking God to do?