What Nehemiah and my Brother Taught me about Prayer

June 9, 2012 — 1 Comment


I don’t pray enough.

I recently returned from Nashville, visiting my brother, Brad. If you don’t know the circumstances of my visit, check out this post. The time our family has spent together this week has been a rich blessing. I am so grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to visit.

While I’ve been here, my eyes have been opened to the daily challenges my brother and his wife face. Even though God has already done awesome work in their lives, they have a long road of healing ahead of them.

As I’ve spent time with Brad and Jeanie, I have realized that what I experienced this week has been their reality since May 2. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it impacted me in a profound me.

Though I’ve had my brother in my thoughts over the past month, much of my life has continued in the same way it always does. Brad’s new reality wasn’t entirely my new reality. That is due largely to the fact that we live 750 miles away.

Long distance or not, this week has reminded me of so many people I know and love who face difficult challenges daily, long distance or not.. Unfortunately, their challenges don’t often impact my day-to-day decisions.

In contrast, consider the story of Nehemiah in Scripture. I’ve been doing some reading this week about vision, and one of the books reminded me of Nehemiah’s story.

While in Persia, serving the king, he received news about the condition of his homeland back in Jerusalem. The wall was in shambles. They had no protection and they were disgraced.

Nehemiah’s response to this news has always humbled me. He tears his clothes, and spends days before the Lord, fasting and praying for Jerusalem.

Days without food and praying to God for people who live hundreds of miles away.

The amazing thing about this story is that it doesn’t involve any instantaneous, miraculous answers to Nehemiah’s prayer. But God uses Nehemiah to accomplish mighty feats through his hard work and humble leadership.

The miracle God works is inside Nehemiah’s heart. God develops an unstoppable passion within him to meet the needs of others.

I wish I had the passion for prayer that Nehemiah had. Yet too often, I get consumed with my immediate surroundings. I don’t pray for others with much regularity or passion. Sure I can pray in worship, meetings, or during pastoral visits. But in the quiet of my heart, when I’m all alone with God, I don’t lift up others in the way Nehemiah prayed.

Part of this is rooted in my lack of faith that God will answer my prayers. If I truly believed that God would dramatically work in people’s lives, then surely I would lift them up more regularly in prayer.

James 5:16 reminds us that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. That is a promise for each of us as Christians. God loves our bold prayers and loves working in mighty ways through them.

Claim that promise today. Bring a bold prayer to God on behalf of somebody who desperately needs it. Let me know what happens.

What gets in the way of your desires to pray for others? Have you found any places, times, or situations that help you pray more regularly? Share your wisdom with others in the comment section below.



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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • scrhill

    Praying in the car is great. You have no where else to go. Just start praying & God will bring people to mind. Recently, I’ve seen God answer some of my prayers in a tangible way which spurts me on to pray more.