3. Nehemiah prayed for favor and success (Nehemiah 1:11).
We should never forget that God’s favor is with his children at all times; even in the seemingly darkest moments. How true that was when it came to the opposition Nehemiah faced. The scriptures repeatedly speak of God’s favor, and we should believe and pray accordingly.
Nehemiah prayed for favor and received amazing favor from none other than the king himself (Nehemiah 2: 6). In fact, his focus was not on gaining favor for himself, but for the work of God (Nehemiah 2: 5). As a result, Nehemiah received bodyguards, a security guard, letters of recommendation, and the necessary lumber not only for repairing the city but also for his own future residence in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2: 7-9). Talk about favor!
Nehemiah had also prayed for success (Nehemiah 1:11). When the king asked what help he wanted (Nehemiah 2: 4), it is said that Nehemiah (a quick prayer) prayed to God before answering. Then he asked for favor so that his endeavor would be successful. In response, the Lord gave him an amazing achievement beyond what he could have imagined!
Do you need God’s favor today? Have you cried out to the Lord to be successful in what you do? Are you ready to keep praying until God comes through? John Wesley said: “I’m so busy that I have to spend several hours in prayer before I can (successfully?) Do it.”
4. Nehemiah prayed against the opposition (Nehemiah 4: 4).
Resistance and opposition to God’s work came from a man named Sanballat and his companions (Nehemiah 4: 1-3). It included threats of furious anger, ridicule, and humiliating insults (Nehemiah 2:19, Nehemiah 4: 7-8). Nehemiah’s immediate answer, however, was prayer. He prayed, “Hear us, our God …” (Nehemiah 4: 4) and also confirmed that the prayer was raised against the threats to God (Nehemiah 4: 9).
When Nehemiah prayed, God gave him strategies to deny the wicked plans of his opponents and he also foiled their plans (Nehemiah 4:15)! So people were encouraged and the work went on.
We too can be sure that whenever we try something great or small for God or approach him, the enemy will come against us. But he can never defeat us because the Bible says that ‘we are more than victors through Jesus! ‘ (Romans 8:37). I once heard a man of God say, “Prayer doesn’t just stop the enemy’s plans; it pushes back these plans! ‘
It is said that missionary John Paton’s mission house was once surrounded by hostile natives and was on the verge of attack. As darkness fell and the threat grew more serious, Paton and everyone on the compound used the only weapon they had; Prayer. While they were praying, the attack did not occur and the threat ended.
Much later, when one of the tribal chiefs turned to Jesus, it was discovered that the attackers had seen a huge army (God’s army) that surrounded the mission house with a protective chain. They therefore realized that an attack was pointless as the area was safe and well protected.
We too can overcome all obstacles through prayer.