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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

How to Pray Effectively

In review of Nehemiah 1:8-9 it says, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them . . . I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored’” (NLT).

Today’s verse is Nehemiah 1:8-9, Nehemiah prays, “Remember the word that you gave to your servant Moses when you said, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. But if you return to me and keep my commandments by really doing them, then, even though your outcasts live under distant skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen as a dwelling for my name.’

In this chapter I see how Nehemiah fasted and prayed for several days, expressing his sorrow for Israel's sin and his desire that Jerusalem would again come alive with the worship of the one true God. Nehemiah demonstrated the elements of effective prayer: (1) praise, (2) thanksgiving, (3) repentance, (4) specific requests, and (5) commitment.

Heartfelt prayers like Nehemiah's can help clarify (1) any problem I may be facing, (2) God's great power to help me, and (3) the job I have to do. By the end of his prayer time, Nehemiah know what action he had to take. When God's people pray, difficult decisions fall into proper perspective, and appropriate actions follow.

This morning I’m reminded of four secrets to answered prayer based on the life of Nehemiah:

I am to base my request on God’s character. Pray like I know God will answer me: “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!”

Confess the sins of which I’m aware. After Nehemiah bases his prayer on who God is, he confesses his sins. He says, “I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us” (Nehemiah 1:6-7 NLT). It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet he’s including himself in the national sins. He says, “I’ve been a part of the problem.”

Claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:8 NLT). Can you imagine telling God to “remember” something? Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, “God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we’d repent, you’d give it back to us.”
Does God have to be reminded? No. Does he forget what he’s promised? No. Then why do we do this? Because it helps us remember what God has promised.

Be specific in what you ask for. If you want specific answers to prayer, make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they’re answered?

Father I pray this morning for your guidance and wisdom in my activities today. Help me to lead and to interact with others well. I pray this through your Son Jesus name, Amen!