This is such a short, simple prayer—yet one we all hope we could pray at the end of our lives. Nehemiah stands as one of the better examples of a faithful believer, and this prayer can serve as a goal for us.
The last prayer passage dealt with outside pressures and crises. This one addresses some internal problems having to do with the rich taking advantage of the poor. In a modern Western society that has no abject poverty, what can we learn from this prayer?
When we are passionate about something, we don’t want to wait around for it. We want to move ahead, make plans, take action. For a believer, there is a time to do that, rather than “waiting on the Lord.” But our “passion” should not be the driving force of our actions. Prayer should play a significant part of anything we do, and Nehemiah’s prayer here shows us the right way.
In this day of radical tolerance (except against those who refuse to tolerate indiscriminate toleration), most of us are likely to judge anyone who offers a curse-prayer. Yet they are part of the Biblical tradition of prayer. What can we learn from this one, and in our age, is a curse-prayer ever appropriate?
What is the connection between prayer and action? Between God’s actions and our responsibility? This story of Nehemiah and his prayers gives us the answers to those questions.
Sometimes God calls us to do unexpected things—perhaps life-changing, perhaps just altering a daily course. But rather than dive right into action, the right thing might be to spend time in serious, open prayer, like Nehemiah.