Nehemiah’s reaction was extreme. Suddenly there was no strength left in his legs, he felt weak and overcome and sat down in shock. Shocked that the city and people that God loved were in such a dire position. He really felt the heart of the Father for His chosen ones and wept over the condition of a people he had not met. Supernaturally God had given Nehemiah a heart and a burden for His children in Jerusalem.
“So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4
This verse tells us that Nehemiah wept, fasted, and prayed for many days, seeking the heart and will of God in this situation. I don’t know about you, but so often, in an extreme circumstance, I move straight into reaction mode! Often, I don’t even think my next move through before jumping into action! Not Nehemiah. His very first reaction was to go to God in prayer. There, in that place of prayer, the LORD began to do a great work in Nehemiah’s heart, He gave him strategy, wisdom, and strength for the season ahead. He took this great leader that He had fashioned and formed through the tough times in Persia and prepared him for this incredible and difficult mission up ahead. A mission of rebuilding not only the walls of Jerusalem but the lives of God’s chosen ones.
Alan Redpath said this; “There is no winning without warfare, there is no opportunity without opposition, there is no victory without vigilance. For whenever the people of God say, ‘Let me arise and build,’ Satan says, ‘Let me arise and oppose.’” For every great task, there will be great opposition. We must take time to pray and allow our Father to prepare us for the mission that follows. We need to take a leaf from the book of Nehemiah and allow the Lord to make us battle-ready. We need to be prayed up, prepared and positioned!
For 4 months Nehemiah sought the LORD, he listened to the LORD and waited on the LORD. But Nehemiah was also a very capable leader, he also spent 4 months planning, working out a Spirit-led plan, for the day the LORD flung wide the Door of Opportunity.
In Nehemiah 2:4-8 we read the story of Nehemiah’s conversation with the King. Nehemiah knew how long he would be gone, that he would need letters of protection as he passed through dangerous places. Nehemiah made requests for building materials, he knew just what he needed, he had a plan. Nehemiah didn’t rush headlong into the opportunity but took the time to plot a course of action, knowing that “the good hand of his God was upon him.”
We know that our God is a planning God, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” Our Savior had a plan, from the very beginning of time, for your salvation. A plan so delicate and intricate, you can see it woven into every book of the bible. A plan for your restoration, a plan to bring you to Himself. Our Abba Father is a planner and He would have you be one too.
Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” We aren’t any more spiritual when we ‘leap out in faith’ and don’t plan. Nehemiah showed immense faith in his planning, in his belief that God would supply what seemed like an overwhelming number of requests. When God showed Nehemiah the desperate situation of His chosen ones, Nehemiah didn’t simply pray and leave it at that. No, Nehemiah was moved, he prayed, and he planned, he was ready to change history for the glory of the King!
Nehemiah fasted and prayed for four months – 120 days! When God felt that Nehemiah was prepared and ready to rebuild the walls it took only an incredible 52 days to complete the task! Nehemiah prayed for twice the amount of time and God used Nehemiah in a miraculous way! Our motto needs to become, “Pray first, act later!” Even when we think we have no time to pray, God is showing you, by using the example of Nehemiah, that if you stop, pray first, plan second, then the Great I AM will help you accomplish your mission in record time!
Do you take the time to pray and plan when the Father shows you a need and opportunity, or do you jump straight into the fray with no forward-thinking at all? Let’s learn from Nehemiah and be more like our loving Father who had a plan for you from the very beginning of the world.