Pray Like a Warrior
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Do you know the feeling of going before someone who is powerful and respected, and, despite your increasing heart rate, you decide to petition them for a BIG ASK? You think to yourself, “What am I thinking? What am I saying? What am I doing? LORD, HELP ME!” I worked for a boss who asked me to give untruthful information to a client to cover up our company’s error. I spent time in prayer about my response because I had never gone against any authority, and I knew my resistance could cost me my job. I went into her office to respectfully let her know I was a follower of Jesus, and I was unable to do what she was asking of me. As I heard myself saying those words, I was thinking, “What am I saying? What am I doing? LORD, HELP ME!”
I can just imagine this is how Nehemiah must have felt. He was devastated about the condition of his hometown, Jerusalem. Exiles had returned there to restore the city, but the wall had not been built due to a previous edict that prevented them from a rebuild. They were vulnerable to attack and lacked any leadership to move forward with both their physical and spiritual needs. Nehemiah grieved over this, spending time in fasting and prayer. He served King Artaxerxes as his cupbearer. The king noticed Nehemiah’s sorrow on his face and asked him about it. This was Nehemiah’s moment. This was his BIG ASK. It could have cost him his life. He could have been killed for even being sad in the presence of the king. Now the king was acknowledging it. I picture Nehemiah saying a quick, “LORD, HELP ME” prayer and then starting into a, “Would you, could you, maybe consider, possibly…” in an unnaturally high voice as he asked the king for what he wanted him to do. That’s right...what NEHEMIAH wanted the KING to do. Woah. He could lose his head for that! Here’s how it went down in Nehemiah’s own words:
“The king asked, ‘What do you want me to do?’ I prayed to the God who rules from heaven. Then I told the king, ‘Sir, if it's all right with you, please send me back to Judah, so that I can rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.’”
Nehemiah 2:4-5 CEV
Nehemiah’s quick prayer not only strengthened him for his bold request to the king, but it also gave God the rightful credit for the outcome before it even happened. In the same way, I credit God for His favor that my boss responded with an expressionless “fine” and never asked me to do anything unethical again. Furthermore, our client was gracious and appreciative for the explanation when I was forthcoming with our company’s error. God took care of me, my relationship with my boss, the company, and the client. He also took care of Nehemiah. He lived to be released from the king to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city and lead his people to religious reform and spiritual awakening – all part of God’s plan.
May Your favor continuously be upon us as we seek You first in prayer and serve You in bold ways, as Nehemiah did. May we turn to You for help right in the midst of those uncertain circumstances as You lead us and receive the glory for the outcome. Amen.
By: Jonie Buckley
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.