3. Nehemiah prayed for favor and success (Nehemiah 1:11).
We should never forget that God’s favor is upon His children at all times; even in the seemingly darkest moments. How true this was when it came to the opposition that Nehemiah would face. The scriptures speak of God’s favor repeatedly 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 getting favor for himself, but for the work of God (Nehemiah 2:5). As a result, Nehemiah received bodyguards, a security contingent, letters of recommendation, and the required timber, not only for the repairs of the city but also for his own future residence in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:7-9). Talk about having favor!
Nehemiah had also prayed for success (Nehemiah 1:11). Therefore, when the king asked him what help he wanted (Nehemiah 2:4), it is said that Nehemiah prayed (a quick prayer) to God before he answered. He then asked for favor, so that his endeavor would be successful. In response, the Lord gave him amazing success beyond what he could have imagined!
Do you need God’s favor today? Have you been crying out to the Lord about finding success in what you do? Are you willing to continue praying till God comes through? John Wesley said, ‘I have so much to do that I must spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it (successfully?).’
4. Nehemiah prayed against the opposition (Nehemiah 4:4).
The opposition and resistance to God’s work came from a man called Sanballat and his associates (Nehemiah 4:1-3). It included threats with incensed anger, mockery, and humiliating insults (Nehemiah 2:19, Nehemiah 4:7-8). Nehemiah’s immediate response however was prayer. He prayed, “Hear us, our God…” (Nehemiah 4:4), and also confirmed that prayer was raised to God against the threats (Nehemiah 4:9).
As Nehemiah prayed, God gave Him strategies to negate the ungodly plans of his opponents and He also frustrated their plans (Nehemiah 4:15)! The people, therefore, were encouraged and the work kept progressing.
We too can be sure that whenever we attempt something great or small for God, or strive to draw closer to Him, the enemy will come against us. But, he can never defeat us for the Bible says that ‘we are more than conquerors through Jesus!’ (Romans 8:37). I once heard a man of God say that ‘Prayer doesn’t just stop the enemy’s plans; it pushes back those plans!’
It is said that Missionary John Paton’s mission house was once surrounded and on the verge of being attacked by hostile natives. As darkness fell and the threat became more serious, Paton and all in the compound used the only weapon they had; prayer. As they prayed, the attack did not materialize and the threat ended.
Much later, as one of the tribal chiefs turned to Jesus, it was discovered that on the eventful night, the attackers had seen a vast army (God’s army) surrounding the mission house with a protective cordon. They realized therefore that it would be futile to attack as the compound was securely and strongly protected.
Through prayer, we too can overcome all opposition.