September 21 – Nehemiah 1
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
Observation: Two observations. (1) When Nehemiah heard a report that was unfavorable – a report that he did not want to hear – he did not just get sad and shut down. He directed his heart-break toward the ONE who could actually do something about it. He mourned fasted and prayed . . . for days! (2) He began to devise and execute a plan. He did not JUST sit and wait for God to work (although that was the first step). He immediately took action and asked God to bless that action. He was going to the King to see what could be done about this problem.
Application: I seem to do a lot of the second step with not enough of the first. If I'm really heart-broken about the state of my city (and I am), it's not just all about planning how to change that. It begins with mourning, fasting and praying to the ONE who can actually do something about it.
Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for wanting to fix things through action and planning alone. Sure, I pray, but Lord help me to understand and know the kind of prayer, mourning and fasting that Nehemiah knew when he found out the walls of Jerusalem were torn down. Tens of thousands of people in my city are hopeless without You, God. Help me to react like Nehemiah to that heart-breaking problem. In Jesus' name, amen.