We’re looking for better methods, machinery and motivations, which are all OK, but God is looking for people to use. He is looking for leaders. And for God to use the leaders, they must be men and women of God. You can learn a lot about people by the kinds of prayers they pray. We have a sample of a leader’s prayer practices in the book of Nehemiah.
Remember that Nehemiah, when he first heard about the downfall of Jerusalem, prayed for four months before taking action. This is not just a casual prayer. The prayer we’re going to look at this week is just a sample prayer he prayed. It gives us a pattern for successful praying. If you want to know how to pray as a leader, study the book of Nehemiah, and particularly examine the prayer Nehemiah prays in the first chapter.
4 Secret Prayer Practices From the Life of Nehemiah
1. Base your requests on God’s character.
Pray like you know God will answer you…
I’m expecting you to answer this prayer because of who you are. You are a faithful God. You are a great God. You are a loving God. You are a wonderful God. You can handle this problem, God!
Nehemiah went to God and said in chapter 1, verse 5, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands” (NIV).
Nehemiah said three things about God:
- You’re great—that’s God’s position.
- You’re awesome—that shows his power.
- You keep your promises—God’s covenant.
The first thing Nehemiah did was to acknowledge who God is. That’s what praise is. And the beginning of seeing prayer answered is believing that God answers prayer and asking him, based on his character and his promises, to listen and to act.
2. Confess the sin in your life.
After Nehemiah based his prayer on God’s character, he confessed his sins. Repeatedly in his prayer, Nehemiah said the words “I” and “we.” He says, “I confess…myself…my father’s house…we have acted very wickedly…we have not obeyed,” and so on throughout this passage.
It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault they went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when this happened 70 years earlier. He was most likely born in captivity. Yet he was including himself in the national sins. Our society has taught us we’re only responsible for ourselves. And that’s just not true! You are your brother’s keeper. We are all in this together.
Leaders accept the blame, others pass the buck. If you want to be a leader, you accept the blame and share the credit.