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Standing Tall Through Prayer

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Nehemiah 1:1-11

"(1) The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, (2) 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. (3) 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, an its gates have been burned with fire.' (4) When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (5) 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, (6) 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. (7) We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. (8) 'Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, (9) but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are 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 and your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of man.' I was cup bearer to the king."

Nehemiah spent time praying on his knees. When he needed guidance, strength, provision, or protection, he responded with prayer. Because of this attitude of dependence, God was able to use Nehemiah to achieve His divine purposes.

This is also true for believers today. God will use us if we seek Him and make ourselves available. He wants His children to be a part of His work and has a purpose for each of us. 

If you want to follow Nehemiah's example of dependent prayer, first recognize God as the sovereign Ruler of the universe (Nehemiah 1:5). Although He's our loving Father and loyal Friend, we must never forget that He is also our high and exalted Creator, whose holiness is beyond our comprehension. We don't want to casually think of Him as "the man upstairs" or come into His presence in a frivolous manner. 

As one who respected God's holiness, Nehemiah approached Him with confession, admitting not only his own sin, but his father's and Israel's as well (Nehemiah 1:6-7). We cannot hide, deny, or cherish sin and expect the Lord to hear and answer our prayers. Purity of heart and the power of God are linked. We need the Holy Spirit to help us remain sensitive to sin and be willing to deal with it immediately.

The reason Nehemiah stood so tall had nothing to do with his natural abilities; rather, it was because he had developed a relationship of dependency on the Lord through prayer. The same can be true for you. Rely on the Lord, and let Him be your strength.

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