My journey through the Bible in 2005 has brought me this morning to the book of Nehemiah, the last of the Old Testament historical books. Nehemiah was a man who saw a need, took it before the Lord in prayer, and then acted upon what God told him to do. Throughout the Bible, believers can find examples of prayer and the elements that make them effective (i.e. praise, thanksgiving, repentance, specific requests, the Word). This book begins with one such example:
5 Then I said, "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, laws, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
8 "Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you sin, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands, even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
10 "We are your servants, the people you rescued by your great power and might. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me." (Nehemiah 1:5-11, NLT)
Verse 6 brings Nehemiah into His audience. Verse 7 contains his confession and repentance. Verses 8-10 show Nehemiah reminding God what His word says. Verse 11(a) reveals his humility and reverence, and 11(b) contains his petition and supplication.
James 5:16(b) says, The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. (AMP) or The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)
I want my prayers to be earnest and I also want them to be effective. I know that God answers prayers that are in His will. The best way to know what is in His will is to hide His word in my heart.
In the grip of His grace,