Recently I have been going through the book of Nehemiah with some of the college students I work with. I will be honest when I asked students what book of the bible they wanted to look at next for our study I was a bit concerned when one of them said Nehemiah. I even said are you sure you want to do Nehemiah? Since no one had a better idea or at least no one would share a better idea I said fine we can do Nehemiah. So then I went about the next couple of weeks doing some research and study into the book. I am always amazed that college students can help me learn things by helping me to get outside of the box. We are now about half way through the book and I have discovered something about Prayer and Work that I think is important for me to work through in my own faith life.
The book of Nehemiah is all about the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem after the Exile. It has been interesting to say the least going through the history. The part that I think is so important is the way Nehemiah dealt with struggle. He did what so many of us struggle to do. He went to God in prayer. The importance of prayer in my own life has been a low priority. I pray from time to time but spending significant time in prayer has been a challenge. I find Nehemiah’s constant prayer in all times as important and convicting of my own faith life.
As much as prayer has been important the work also needed to get done. Nehemiah did something equally as important that I know I have seen as a struggle in the Church. I also think it is a struggle in many peoples lives young and old. You see when most of us want to do something we may pray about it and pray about it and pray about it and never quite do anything. This can be crippling for people because they never make a decision and move forward with their lives.
The other danger I think we fall into is praying getting the answer we think we want to hear and go and do what ever the task is at hand. Never bothering to come back to prayer while going through the work. Nehemiah Chapter 4 really seems to point to the idea of continual prayer. I have been convicted by this idea. We need to be people who seek out Gods will and continue to work and follow his leading.
So my question for you and for me is are you praying continually while doing the work God has placed in front of you to accomplish? I know I don’t have the answer yet but the question has been haunting me for a week. Maybe it is time to be in prayer again.