The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please Your Majesty and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” - Nehemiah 2:4-5
Nehemiah had heard, through the grapevine as it were, that even though some Jews had returned to their homeland from captivity, the wall of Jerusalem was still in ruins (Nehemiah 1:1-3). Nehemiah could hardly contain his sadness, but as the king’s cup-bearer (Nehemiah 1:11), he had to appear often before the king. The record tells us that Nehemiah was “badly frightened” when the king asked him why he looked so depressed (Nehemiah 2:2). He was frightened because it was dangerous to look sad in the service of the king, but Nehemiah bravely replied honestly. To his amazement the king asked him, “How can I help you?” There was a split second pause, and in that split second, Nehemiah tells us, “With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied” (Nehemiah. 2:4-5). He then asked for the moon! He requested months of absence, letters of safe conduct, and supplies for rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:5, 7-8). Now that was quite an audacious mouthful for a slave! But the king granted his requests.
“Telegram” prayers (crisis prayers) are legitimate and can bring great results, but that was not the only way Nehemiah prayed. Such crisis prayers should be borne out of a regular prayer habit. In other words, crisis praying should not be the only praying that we do. To know how to pray in a crisis, we need to be in the habit of talking to the God whose gracious hand alone will help us as we instinctively turn to him.
For Further Study: Nehemiah 1:1-2:8
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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