Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Prayer - Nehemiah 1

Our small group has been focusing on prayer. We are beginning by looking at some biblical prayers - our starting place are the prayers in Nehemiah. Here's some thoughts on the prayer

  • Recognize who God is
    ... "the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant"
    ...He is a lot bigger than we think.
  • Recognise who we are
    ... "hear the prayer your servant is praying"
    ...We are God's servant, praying to determine what He wants. Prayer is not us telling God what we want him to do.
  • Recognize what we have done
    ... "I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you"
    ... Not only have we sinned willfully and personally against God, but we are part of systems, organizations and communities which have rejected God and sinned against Him. We don't come to prayer like we've done nothing.
  • Recognize what we have not done
    ... "We have not obeyed"
    ... That's says it. We have not obeyed.
  • Recognize what God wants us to have
    ... "I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen"
    ... In spite of all our junk, God desires to be with us. We can pray confidently knowing he wants restoration and he has/is/will act to bring it about.
  • Recognize what is appropriate to ask for
    ... "O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant"
    ... The most important thing we can ask for is the ear of God.
  • Recognize that prayer shows us what we need
    ... "Give your servant success today."
    ... What if Nehemiah had been unsuccessful? Does that mean he prayed wrongly? No, it means his prayer was heard, and God in his graciousness did not grant a prayer that would have been harmful for Nehemiah. Prayer requires us to surrender our will in the knowledge that God is sovereign and God is love!

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