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Daily Devotionals

Day 24 – Issue 38

todayMay 1, 2015 4

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Be Still Know

Nehemiah 1.4 NLT

‘When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.’

Not surprisingly many people have a special affection for the book of Nehemiah. It offers us an engaging first- hand account of a man of huge courage and faith. Here we meet Nehemiah in Persia which was about 1000 miles away from Jerusalem, his ancestral home. Many years before Jerusalem had been attacked by King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and much of the population had been taken off into exile. That must be as humiliating a punishment as could be imagined but for the Jews, for whom the land was a gift of God, it was an excruciating penalty. The people longed to return to their homeland and were eager for any snippet of news. On this particular day Nehemiah had heard the latest and it is a story of unrelieved misery. Although many of the exiles had returned to Jerusalem they were in great trouble and disgrace and the walls of the city were broken and the gates burned with fire. For Nehemiah there was no way in which the news could have been worse and he responded with tears and prayer.

I am struck by the number of times, on the radio and television, when I hear people describe their situation as being so hopeless and desperate that all they can do is pray. Prayer is portrayed as the last resort when every other remedy has been exhausted. Nehemiah saw it in exactly the opposite way. For him it was the first response. His confidence in his great God was such that he knew that Nehemiah could open up his heart to God, and that’s precisely what he did. This was no polite, formal approach to God but the laying bare of his rawest emotions.

In common with all the greatest privileges of life, it is easy to abuse prayer. It is almost too wonderful to think that it is possible for us to communicate with the Creator of the Universe, but that is what we are invited to do. Like Nehemiah we need to turn prayer from something that we do once we’ve decided on a course of action, to our first response.

QUESTION: How important is prayer in your life?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the amazing privilege of being able to pray to you. Help me never to treat it lightly but to treasure it more and more. Amen

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Written by: Matt Weet

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