PRAYER–YOUR FIRST OR LAST OPTION?

Sitting by the bedside of her only child, my friend stated in grief, “There’s nothing left to do except pray!” I heard what she was saying, and I knew she already had been praying, but what she was really saying was “It’s totally out of my control, the doctors don’t know what else to do, and God alone is my only hope.”

There’s nothing wrong with that! In fact, that’s where we should have been every day since the birth of any of the ones that God has given into our hands! Yes, sometimes we mess up–sometimes we make mistakes and there’s no going back because none of us are perfect, or even ‘good’–but we keep on giving them into the hands of the Savior. But when it has come to the point where no one can help, we turn to God in a different way, don’t we? We pray with an intensity that is fervent (and yet we all know that God still sometimes says “No.”)

Have you read the book of Nehemiah lately? His life of prayer gives us so many insights into his character! He had gone to Jerusalem after the captivity of Babylon, and was going to oversee having the wall rebuilt, but there were many enemies! Now turn that into your own life: you’ve had a difficult time going through a valley, and you start trying to rebuild: maybe a relationship, a life that was almost destroyed.. it can be almost anything! But when you start to rebuild, you find there are many “enemies.” These may be in the form of discouraging words from family members, friends that turn away, Satan’s devices to use obstacles that seem so terrifying, and you have a decision: do you keep on re-building or give up?

Nehemiah didn’t give up; he gave us a set of steps, and if we can use them, it might turn our valleys into mountaintops. First, he assessed the situation. He really wanted to know what was involved in the rebuilding, but the enemies were so many that he took only a couple of men and in the quiet of the night took a tour around Jerusalem to see what needed to be done. Secondly, he prepared a plan. He didn’t tackle this on his own–his narrative is filled with the prayers he prayed continually, asking God’s help, but he also involved the people. Not just any people! The people who “had a mind to work!” Surround yourself with friends who will encourage you, no matter how small the number, and who will be praying. Thirdly, while they were praying, they also worked: in fact, you will see if you read Nehemiah that the enemies were so great that while some worked, others were on guard with weapons! Choose friends, pastors or others whom you know who will be praying a hedge of protection about you and your friends as you rebuild! “Do not be afraid of them [the enemies]; remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your [family]!” (4:14b). Let others help you! Delegate the problem to those whom you can trust. And lastly, some of the workers worked with one hand, and held weapons with the other! Just because you have done your ‘homework,’ gotten people to pray and help you, you can’t relax your vigilance while you are rebuilding your life, your relationship, or whatever you are trying to repair–especially if it is going to bring glory to God in the end–you have to remember that Satan will try to attack in every way he can. So have your guard up, don’t be afraid, put your faith in Christ and Christ alone, and know you are fighting a spiritual battle at the same time you are re-constructing!

Read Nehemiah sometime! His is a story that is a definite guide to walking so closely with the Lord that his life gives us a guide to follow.

Father, if someone reads this and is trying to get a broken marriage back together, restore a child to the family, or rebuild a relationship for your glory, please give them wisdom, send friends who will intercede and fight on their behalf for victory, and shield them from the power of the enemy. Put a hedge of protection around them, and let them enjoy the days that You have made! In Christ, Amen

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