“Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 2:4
For the better part of four months you’re heart’s been heavy carrying a burden of care, concern and guilt. During hours of solitude you’ve pour out your heart to God; confessing your sins and the sins of God’s people, pleading with God to shelter his people from the oppression of their enemies, begging him to provide leaders that will guide them through the process of becoming a holy nation, a people devoted to God once again.
Many times days would pass without any food being eaten as you’ve fasted in combination with your prayers. Sleepless nights have been fill with weeping as you’ve sobbed out your souls desperation for God’s intervention and mercy.
As the days pass into weeks, slowly God begins to lay upon you heart the conviction that you’re part of his plan for solving his peoples problems and for providing them with stronger leadership, possessing a vision for a more complete restoration.
As the conviction grows stronger it adds even greater intensity to the desperation of your prayers. How will you ever break free from the commitments of work and home to do what God is telling you to do? Why would anyone listen to you? You have no experience. You’ve never been a leader. You’ve only ever done what others have told you to do.
But the longer you pray the stronger the conviction becomes and the clearer the path ahead becomes until the message of your prayer is only, “Open the way before me Father. Give me mercy before the man who has power over my life.”
And then one day the Lord opens the way before you. Your king notices that today you’re burdened with sadness and care and he asks about the griefs that shadow your heart. So you tell him about the afflictions of your people and the condition of the temple and the city of your fathers and he asks, “What would you have me do?”
And before you do or say anything more YOU PRAY.
Too often we pray too little.
There’s a saying, “Look before you leap.” Well God’s people need to pray before they speak. Pray before the act. Pray instead of react. Pray before, during, and following any planning. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for knowledge. Pray for courage. Pray for patience, faith and love. Pray, pray, pray.
Nehemiah sets a grand example for each of us. Before you do anything, pray.