4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 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 2:4-5
I love the book of Nehemiah. In it you find a man driven by prayer and an unshakeable faith in God that leads him to live a life of courage, boldness and conviction. He singlehandedly inspired an entire nation to rebuild the city that their ancestors conquered, and in which the nation of God lived and flourished for generations.
It is so obvious that, in everything Nehemiah did, he was totally reliant on God in prayer. In the delicate situation in which he finds himself in the above passage, with the king asking him what it is he wants, his first instinct is to pray to God. What incredible self-control – to pray to God before even answering the question! That is what most stands out to me. He knew that he was potentially risking his job as cupbearer, and even his life, by asking this question as an advocate for the Jews. But the boldness and clarity of thought he had when he answered the king came from this moment of prayer.
In our lives, we are faced with many delicate situations on a daily basis. A challenging conversation, an unexpected phone call, our faith being questioned, our integrity being tested – in these situations, it is easy, and even natural, to rely on our own strength and look for a quick solution. God is seldom glorified when we do that. Nehemiah left us an example to navigate every situation prayerfully and with total reliance on God. Even in this momentary prayer before answering the king, Nehemiah surrendered the situation to God.
As you go through your day today, enter into, and navigate every situation, with prayer. Whether with your family, at work, with a friend, or on the phone, pray before and during each interaction. That is how God, and not ourselves, will be lifted up and glorified.
Let’s imitate the example of Nehemiah today and give each moment, each situation, to God in prayer.