Read Nehemiah 2:4-8 NLT The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it pleases the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.
Nehemiah was clearly a man devoted to a life of prayer who sought out God with powerful, inspiring prayers. But while praying, Nehemiah didn’t just idly sit by with an attitude of “ok, I prayed so my part is done.” No, while Nehemiah connected with the power of God through prayer he also prepared expectantly for the day when God would answer. As God provided the opportunity to move forward, Nehemiah was ready for it. Under the circumstances of his world, Nehemiah would require the support and approval of the Persian king (the government in control). So he had prepared a response for every question the king would ask as well as a plan for taking action. He had prepared well enough to even be able to give the king a timeline for his return. As a side note, this interchange shows what a reliable person Nehemiah was for the king desired to know when he would get him back.
Nehemiah needed approval, authority, and materials in order to successfully travel to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls. He helped to advance the favor of the king for this endeavor by being prepared and it paid off. Still Nehemiah gave glory to God acknowledging it was all because the gracious hand of God was on him.
Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, may we always be faithful and diligent to bring our needs, requests, and petitions before You. Help us to not stop there but to also prepare our mind, heart, body, and spirit to serve when You come through. Give us the resources we need to meet the needs of anyone You bring to us or the circumstances You would have us respond to. We want to utilize the gifts and talents You’ve provided us in practical and effective ways. May Your gracious hand always be upon us as we seek to please You in all we do. In Jesus’ name, amen.