“The Right Way to Ask”

Nehemiah 1:5-11

“And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant, Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

When Nehemiah heard the news of the dilapidated state of Jerusalem, he grieved. But he allowed his sorrow to turn into a burden instead of bitterness. He immediately went into action with the best of all possible strategies – he went to God in prayer. Instead of leaning directly into the ask, Nehemiah started his prayer by taking several steps back. 

  • He praised God’s character
  • He repented of his sin and admitted the sin of his people 
  • He recalled God’s promises in His word 

Nehemiah had a burden for his people and his homeland and he went to God in a wise and humble manner. May we be so burdened by the needs around us and go to God in the same way!

While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions: 

  • Has God put a burden on you regarding a need or injustice in the world? 
  • Take some time today using Nehemiah’s 3 steps as the beginning of your prayer regarding that burden.  
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you? 
Explain – what does the passage mean? 
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today? 
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor


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