Friday, May 13, 2016
“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king…” (Nehemiah 2:4,5 KJV).
What can Nehemiah teach us in today’s Scripture?
Recently, I noticed a parked vehicle with the bumper sticker, “Pray while it’s still legal.” Even if prayer were completely outlawed in the United States, or anywhere else in the world, that would not at all intimidate the Bible believer. Outlawed prayer would most certainly be a problem for “traditional Christians,” however.
See, dearly beloved, religion has dumbed-down prayer to the point where it is rarely pleasing to Father God. Since denominational teaching has watered down prayer, most can think of nothing more than kneeling, bowed heads, closed eyes, folded hands, raised arms, prayer beads, prayer books, et cetera. They have missed the issue of prayer entirely. Prayer is repeating to God what His Word tells you; prayer is not repeating what others wrote about the Bible. Remember, they may have incorrectly interpreted Scripture to write that prayer you want to recite! Furthermore, prayer is not about the posture of the physical body; it is all about the attitude of the spiritual heart.
In today’s Scripture, Nehemiah was unhappily serving before Persian King Artaxerxes (verses 1-3). Far away was un-walled and ruined Jerusalem—Babylon had destroyed it 150 years earlier. Attempting to cheer him up, Artaxerxes asked Nehemiah what he desired. Certainly, Nehemiah, standing before the king, had no time to kneel, raise his hands, whip out a prayer card, or be excused to enter some “prayer closet.” So, Nehemiah prayed right there on the spot, silently. In that time of limited divine revelation, he sought God’s wisdom as to how to respond. The king never noticed Nehemiah praying!
So, friends, if prayer is ever outlawed here or elsewhere, that really will not hinder us Bible believers. Silent prayer in all circumstances is fine. Father God will certainly hear us, and that is all that matters. Just look at today’s Scripture. By the way, if you want to find out what happens with Nehemiah, read the rest of the chapter… or perhaps his whole book!