I’ve been working on some material for a leadership weekend retreat for churches. The weekend is built around a study of the book of Nehemiah.
The first lesson I get from Nehemiah is: Prayer is the First Thing. I don’t know if Nehemiah was a man of great faith but I know he was a man of great prayer.
In chapter 1 Nehemiah is informed of an event which is actually recorded in the fourth chapter of Ezra. A protest has arisen from nearby neighbors and the rebuilding was stopped and the work already completed was destroyed. The walls of the city were again torn down and the gates of the city burned.
He was hearing of the destruction of something which it had seemed that God had been involved in. Nehemiah was brokenhearted.It was painful to see that the work of God had been stopped because of the actions of a few.
What should be the first thing to do? It would seem that the first action to take would be to go to the king and ask him to repeal the order and to punish those in opposition. Nehemiah was in a position of access to the king. He could’ve chosen this option.
There are times when the work of God is brought to a standstill and even moves sideways or backward because of the actions of a few. There are times when God is unable to effectively move in a situation because of certain factors. There is only one solution, one path to travel, one action to take when we see the work of God coming to a standstill.
Look at Nehemiah’s first action, the first thing he did, not the last or the second. “I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4
Leaders recognize that Prayer is the First Answer always!