The Important Elements of Nehemiah’s Prayers

Nehemiah’s prayers are the first account of Nehemiah and the entire saga of the reconstruction of the city walls.

Nehemiah was a man of continual prayer. Prayer was an integral part of Nehemiah’s identity and what he did in his day-to-day activities. Learning how to pray more effectively can be accomplished by reading the prayers recorded in Nehemiah. These beautiful prayers may serve as a template to adapt and pray to God as we go through our lives and honor God in our everyday interactions.

What are Nehemiah’s Prayers?

Nehemiah Prayers

Who was Nehemiah?

Nehemiah is most known as the Governor of Jerusalem. Before he was governor, Nehemiah was the cupbearer of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:1). One of his famous roles was to check the wine and ensure it did not contain poison before serving it to the king.

Through the years, Nehemiah became the king’s most trusted advisor. Later, he rose to a position of prominence in the royal court. The king had complete faith and trust in him. Thus, Nehemiah was in a prime position to direct the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls. The Babylonians had previously razed the walls. At that time, the city walls were rebuilt for the third time. After Zerubbabel and Ezra, the third attempt at rebuilding the wall was made by Nehemiah thirteen years later.

Most importantly, Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and his faith profoundly impacted his character and way of life. He faced his time’s religious, societal, and political issues with prayer. Nehemiah prayed and toiled simultaneously. He put his faith in God’s ability to bring about a positive outcome.

Where are Nehemiah’s Prayers found in the Bible?

Prayers of Nehemiah are in the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. It is located between the Books of Ezra and Esther. Nehemiah’s life shows how God may utilize people in any walk of life. God is not interested in competence but rather in obedience. Nehemiah was not only available but also eager to take action. With God’s help, he led a spiritual renaissance among the populace. He also oversaw the reconstruction of the wall and the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland. 

Nehemiah was a determined man of God’s will and power. ‘The Prayer of Nehemiah’ is the first account of Nehemiah and the entire saga of the reconstruction of the city walls. He was a constant intercessor in prayer. As he fasted and prayed, things began to shift.

How many are Nehemiah’s Prayers?

In the Book of Nehemiah, there are fourteen prayers.

What Can be Found in Nehemiah’s Prayers?

Praise

“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…” (Nehemiah 1:5)

Nehemiah opens his prayer with praise to God. He teaches us that this is the proper approach to begin every prayer to God. Praise was Nehemiah’s prayer after the return of the Israelites from exile in Babylon. There, Nehemiah professes God’s character. He also asks God for help based on the fact that God has always kept His promises.

Thanksgiving

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.” (Nehemiah 1:6)

In Nehemiah’s Prayer, gratefulness and praise go hand in hand. Praise is more general and focuses on God’s character. Thanksgiving is more specific and focuses on the good God has done for us and the blessings He affords us. Nehemiah’s two thanksgiving prayers are also related to prayers of praise.

Confession

We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah 1:7)

Nehemiah confesses that he and his ancestors have broken God’s law. This act shows us that we should all repent and confess our faults every time we pray. In this way, we can keep our imperfections from obstructing God’s perfect will in our lives.

Petition

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.” (Nehemiah 1:8-9)

After praising God, Nehemiah asks God to pay more attention to him. It is not that Nehemiah does not believe God is watching, but he wants to ensure he has sustained God’s attention. He makes an earnest appeal to God for help. Through his prayer, he shows his eagerness for a response from God. He is also showing his determination to keep praying. We also pray for petitions in our lives, knowing that God is our provider and sustainer.

Intercession

They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.” (Nehemiah 1:10)

Nehemiah prayed for his hometown and people. Prayer promises are put into practice twice in Nehemiah’s prayers. First, he asks for deliverance in rebuilding Jerusalem’s temple. Second, he repeats his request. Nehemiah alludes to the fact that Israel was the land God had chosen as the location for the temple that would house His name.

Blessings and curses

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.” (Nehemiah 1:11)

Nehemiah has four petitions, two for blessings and two for curses. The first blessing shows that hearing God’s Word should inspire us to bless Him. The second is included in Nehemiah’s extended prayer and is an excellent example of introducing a prayer with a benediction.

Curse prayers are Jesus telling us that we should let God deal with our thirst for revenge. The abusers of God’s people were on Nehemiah’s target list, and he surrendered that desire to God.

Promise

Nehemiah closes his prayer by giving adoration to God. He ends it in Jesus’ name. In his prayer, Nehemiah has faith that God will fulfill His promise.

Insights from Nehemiah’s Prayers

Nehemiah Prayers

Worship and praise to God

“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4)

In his prayer, Nehemiah takes a moment to reflect on who God is in his life. He worships and praises God. Rebuilding the wall was a race against time, but Nehemiah never stopped praying or praising God. His prayer was an expression of awe and respect before a God he knew to be almighty. When we face challenges and victories, may we always remember that the glory belongs to the Lord.

Humility before God

As a result of God’s restorative power, Nehemiah was optimistic about the future. The main focus of his remarks was the Hebrews’ departure from Egypt. But he was also confident that God would provide a second, equally miraculous deliverance when the time came to restore the Temple in Jerusalem. In addition to his humility, Nehemiah came to God’s throne repentant for his sins. He pleaded for mercy on behalf of himself, his father, and all of Israel. Nehemiah believed that God is holy, and holiness precludes God’s presence in a sinful world.

Humility is an essential attitude a believer needs to live out. We know who God is and who we are not. Humility is also coming before God, repenting of our sins, and trusting the Lord for His forgiveness and deliverance.

Reliance on God

Nehemiah constantly prayed whenever his enemies harassed him. To this, the Lord replied that God would intervene on their behalf. The city’s primary enemies were located in the surrounding countryside. They were also found opposite the wall construction.  Nehemiah was unmoved by the enemies’ strategies, even when they jeered and intimidated him. Nehemiah prayed and resumed the construction nonetheless. 

People prayed and posted guards because they feared an onslaught from their enemies.  Nehemiah encouraged the people to put their faith in God and paired them off so that one person might work while the other waited nearby with weapons. So that they may trust in God and battle together, Nehemiah also established a signal of a trumpet call. The enemies of Nehemiah first tried to entice him outside the city, where they could hurt him. They also tried to manipulate him into meeting them in the temple, where he could abandon his faith.

Nehemiah was wise to their schemes. Therefore, he declined to attend the gatherings. He proclaimed that he was making significant contributions. They then planned to send a report to the king that would insult and disgrace Nehemiah. After hearing this, Nehemiah prayed to God for fortitude. Instead of meeting in the temple, he opted to meet elsewhere. Despite fierce opposition, Nehemiah and the people were able to restore the wall. The difficulties Nehemiah faced were opportunities to carry on and put his faith in God.

When we face trials and persecution, we often focus on external things to help us. But as we walk the journey of faith, may we rely on and trust the mighty and sovereign hand of the Lord, for He is enough.

Persistence in prayer and faith

Praying was Nehemiah’s weapon. He prayed, grieved, cried, fasted, and sought God for guidance, courage, purpose, and strength. Everything he did, he credited to God. Through Nehemiah’s steadfast persistence, God reveals that He is glad to join us in our goals and endeavors if they align with His desire. 

Whenever we pray, God is pleased and willing to answer our requests. Therefore, God was moving with Nehemiah and through Him as he prayed continually. As followers of Christ, we should allow God to use our situations. He should be allowed to access our bodies, passions, and the things that stress our hearts for His purposes. We must be prepared to respond when God calls.

Interceding for others

Upon learning of internal strife, Nehemiah called a meeting of the people. He rebuked the Israelites for exploiting their people and not being fearful of God. He established guidelines and resolved conflicts. The people reacted by singing God’s praises. 

In the first chapter of the Book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah reveals his worry for the people’s hearts. He confessed and prayed that God would forgive Israel’s sins and re-unite the country under David if the Israelites would repent and return to the holy city of Jerusalem.  

Nehemiah and Ezra, the priest, worked together to restore the people’s relationship with God after the wall was finished. This unity shows us that our prayers should reflect our desire to maintain a close relationship with God. Prayers also promote harmonious interpersonal interactions. Our prayers for our loved ones and other people are powerful.

Remembering and living out our purpose

God strengthened Nehemiah. He persevered through the difficulties of re-establishing the city of Jerusalem. Every prayer gave him the strength to build another section of wall around the city. With each prayer, he felt more and more at peace. There was no way for his opponents to deter him. God’s power made sure his endeavor got finished. Success and favor were bestowed upon them. 

Despite many setbacks and opposition, God reminds us to listen to His voice as He calls us by name. He is the one who calls us for a divine purpose, and it is our privilege to take part in building His kingdom.

Nehemiah Prayers

In Conclusion

Nehemiah was just an ordinary man. The Jewish people, led by Nehemiah, overcame obstacles and worked together to achieve their goals while facing persecution. Nehemiah set an example for his followers by trading his prestigious palace position for menial tasks in a politically unimportant neighborhood. He helped strengthen the nation’s religious and political institutions with Ezra. 

A role model for the people, Nehemiah showed God the utmost respect. He never took credit for his achievements, instead praising God for them. His life has a timeless impact, illuminating our path and encouraging us to walk more intimately with God. Nehemiah prayed to God repeatedly, asking that he be remembered forever. He eagerly sought God’s approval and welcomed the idea that God was with him always. Nehemiah teaches us that God is always pleased when we dedicate our lives to Him, obey Him, and give Him honor.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.


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