Short and sweet. Such is the verse…and the truth it teaches.
The setting was the king’s palace in Babylon. Nehemiah, the man God would use to rebuild Jerusalem, was serving as King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. One day the king noticed that Nehemiah was downtrodden, so he asked Nehemiah what the problem was. And here’s the verse I want us to see:
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king… (Nehemiah 2:4-5)
It was an important moment. It was a historic moment. The king’s reaction to what Nehemiah would say next had a lot resting on it. Nehemiah needed to get it right! So, he paused ever so briefly, prayed to God, and then answered the king.
The situation didn’t allow Nehemiah the luxury of getting back to the king days later. He needed to strike while the iron was hot. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t bow his heart before God and silently ask the Lord for the proper words – the best words. And that’s what he did.
My guess is Nehemiah made no show of this prayer. I doubt he did much more than exhale and silently whisper, “Lord, please give me the words.” Yet Scripture records this moment for us to read centuries later. The important thing isn’t what Nehemiah said, or whether or not he bowed his head and closed his eyes. No, the take-home point here is that he paused long enough to invite God into the process.
The same option is available to us as well. As we go about our days, important moments will undoubtedly arise. When they do, let’s follow Nehemiah’s example of pausing to pray before continuing. –Dave
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