The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Nehemiah was a man who loved God and loved God’s people. If we examine his prayers in this book, we come to know a man who desired above all to fulfill God’s will. When God answered his requests, he prayed prayers of thanksgiving. In fact, the end of the book is a final prayer asking God to remember him with favor. The timing of the prayer above, however, makes it stand out from the rest for a very specific reason.
Several verses earlier, Nehemiah had asked God for favor in the presence of the king. When he heard of the ruin that had come upon the wall around Jerusalem, his heart became burdened. This became his cause. As the cup bearer to the king, he would need permission to leave for a time to help rebuild the wall. Then the moment came about, and the king asked Nehemiah what he desired. Being a man who wholly relied on God, Nehemiah did not answer without praying once more. Whether he prayed again for favor or prayed for the right words we will not know. What we do know is that Nehemiah remained in communion with God through prayer through this process at every step.
When the moment of truth arose, Nehemiah sought his Father once more before taking his step in faith. He was a man who desired that his decisions were made by God instead of by himself. Before acting, he prayed. Before speaking, he prayed. He understood that the journey ordained by God cannot be carried out without God directing the steps. Father, grow in us the desire to do great things for your sake and the sake of your people, and gives us the discipline to seek You in prayer as we act and speak for your purposes.