Note: Like I said when I posted the first one, these were originally meant for InterVarsity-Binghamton, so in places in today's devotional where Thomas originally addressed our chapter specifically, I've taken the liberty of changing the sentences to suit an outside audience.
"The wall of Jerusalem is broken down,
and its gates have been burned with fire."
"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.
For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."
If you've read Nehemiah, you know about his faith and boldness in prayer. We see a transformation of events and hope for Israel's future as a result of God's response to his faith. Although his example is encouraging, I believe we are often held back from praying like Nehemiah because prayer today seems to be so impractical.
How can we pray more every day when we barely have time to sleep? Why should we pray about a situation that is entirely up to us? What's the point in talking to an invisible God about my life's broken walls when I can start fixing them right now? When was the last time God proved Himself in a miracle to me?
I commend you if you find yourself asking these questions. It means you're thinking and digging deeper.
My encouragement to you is simple: "Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:23.
Read: James 5:13-18
Pray: If you call yourself a Christian, I challenge you to take Jesus at His word. I challenge you to remember that God is reality and to pray trusting that God hears and answers. Offer prayer for whatever place you find yourself in. What's going on around you that you know God's heart is breaking over? Intercede with faith.
Check 1: Don't you hate it when your hands are tied and all you can do is pray? Learn to rejoice in those times through faith. Learn to let go and find peace in remembering the character and heart of God.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Check 2: When you take a big step of faith in prayer, do you trust God enough to be okay no matter what His answer is? If you believe with all your heart that His answer must be 'yes', but it turns out 'no', will you still trust in Him? From my experience, He is always faithful. He does not let me down even when I let Him down over and over again.
You may know the acronym PUSH: Pray Until Something Happens.
Read: Luke 18:1-8
Pray: Learn to pray with persistent faith, not just persistently. Choose something in your life to pray over until something happens...just understand that the "something" may not be what you expect, but "...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
Be bold but not reckless in your PUSH-ing. Know whom you're PUSH-ing. God is sovereign.