Be Still Know
Nehemiah 1.11 NLT
“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
Nehemiah is on the verge of taking the boldest step of his life. He is going to ask King Artaxerxes, the mighty ruler of Persia, a question which might well land him in a lot of trouble. It could so very easily go wrong. In view of this, he brings his majestic and humble prayer to an end by making the bold request that God should grant him success.
I think we often feel rather coy about the idea of asking God for success, but we needn’t feel that way because God loves to hear our prayers. He wants us to be completely honest as we address him and in a situation like Nehemiah’s it was absolutely right for him to make such a bold request. This wasn’t a selfish prayer. He was asking for success so that he could bless his Jewish brothers and sisters by restoring Jerusalem. If the King granted his request it was going to give him a great deal of hard work and difficulty.
In the letter of James we read, “You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” (James 4.2) Asking God is a natural thing for us to do as his children and he encourages us to do so, so long as our motives are right. The problem with the people that James was writing to was that they had the wrong motives. They were just looking to please themselves. Selfish prayers will never work and we should be deeply grateful that they don’t. But when we follow the example of Nehemiah and pray out of a desire to serve God and bless his people we can be sure that he will hear our prayers.
QUESTION: In what situation are you asking God for success at the moment?
PRAYER: Lord I thank you that you are such a generous God and that you love to hear our requests. Amen
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