Monday, November 3, 2008

Nehemiah: Lessons In Rebuilding -2

Lesson 2: Get Up And Pray

There’s a scene in the middle of the classic Christmas movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” that I hardly noticed in all the years that I’ve watched it--until I became a Christian, that is. The message of the movie is so powerful, I missed the fact that the whole chain of events that takes place throughout the movie starts with a prayer.

When George Bailey, the character played by Jimmy Stewart, finds himself at a loss for what to do next, he prays:

“God . . . God . . . Dear Father in Heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.”

And God does.

There’s a time to weep over the losses in your life, but there’s also a time to move forward. And the best way to move forward is to get up and pray. Although you may feel like George Bailey at times, not even sure if God’s there and listening at all, I assure you He is. God is there and God does care. Knowing that can make all the difference in your prayers.

If you think of prayer as just a time to be alone, or a time to talk to yourself and try to work things out on your own, then you may not have much incentive to pray at all. But if you truly believe that God is there, and that when you talk, He listens--and responds--then turning to prayer takes on a whole new meaning.

When the prophet Nehemiah suffered a great loss in his life, he sat down and wept, but the next thing he did was to get up and pray. Listen to the words of Nehemiah, and his prayer, as recorded in Nehemiah chapter 1:

“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:

‘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 and night for Your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, 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.’

‘They are Your servants and Your people, whom You redeemed by Your great strength and Your mighty hand. O 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’” (Nehemiah 1:4-11).

Nehemiah knew that God was there, that God was listening, and that God knew best what to do next. Nehemiah mourned, fasted and prayed. He confessed his own sins, as well as those of his countrymen. And he reminded himself--and God--of God’s promises, asking for God’s favor as he moved forward.

I don’t know whether you’re more like George Bailey, who didn’t think of himself as a praying man, or more like Nehemiah, who prayed regularly, or somewhere in between. But I do know that whoever you are, you can pray to your Father in heaven and He will hear you--and He will respond. That prayer could very well be the one that starts the whole chain of events of the rest of your life.

Come to God today and pray, even if it’s as simple as saying, “I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.” And He will.

Let’s pray...
Father, I’m at the end of my rope and I don’t know what to do next. I confess my sins to you. Show me the way, Lord, and help me to know what to do next. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I hope this is a blessing to you,God bless you richly.

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