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 1:11 NIV
Have you ever wished there was some kind of magic formula we could use when we pray, one that we could be sure that God would answer? Well, there is (sort of)! It isn’t magic by any means, but there are actually a whole bunch of “formulas” or “templates” of prayer found in the Bible. One of those that you might not know of is Nehemiah’s prayer.
Nehemiah was a man whose fervent petition to the Lord brought about the restoration of Israel at the end of the Babylonian Exile. This prayer, in Nehemiah 1:5-11, was taken from his personal journal and shows us how to pray boldly and with confidence in who God is, in what He has promised, and in who we are in relationship to the Father. It’s an especially important passage because it gives us a before-during-and-after view of his prayer. And we’re able to see how that prayer directly affects its outcome.
It was common for people back then to use a sort of “formula” when they approached the Lord, and Nehemiah was no different in that regard. But one of the things that set him apart from the others was that Nehemiah knew who he was and understood his authority—both on earth and before God. In his life, he understood he was a man of action with a position of influence. He was an intercessor for his people and was deeply devoted to them and to God.
In addition to that, he had confidence he could approach God boldly because he also understood God’s nature and love, which he declared back to Him in his prayer.
After that, Nehemiah confessed his sins and the sins of his people. This put him right before the Lord and expressed humility and submission before Him, which is the proper position to be in if you are asking God to move on your behalf!
Following that, and perhaps most importantly, he reminded God of His covenant promises. I’m quite certain God never forgets His promises, but He likes us to remind Him all the same—probably because it shows we remember them, too!
Next, he boldly petitioned the Lord to answer his prayer—to have mercy on him and grant him success in what he was about to do.
Finally, he took action! Nehemiah went into this prayer with a conviction about what he needed to do, but he also understood that we have a part to play and a job to do as a result of what we’ve prayed for.
Can you think of an area in your life where you need God’s help doing something you need to do?
Heavenly Father, Help me to know who I am, how You see me, and who You are as Lord of my life. Give me confidence and boldness to come before You in prayer, knowing You will answer and work for my good according to Your will. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.