Theme: Understanding the why of a Prayer Burden and what is required to fulfill it.
Text: Whenever God wants to get a work
done, He lays hold of willing people. The walls of Jerusalem had been ruined; a
small remnant had returned; and there was much work that needed to be done. In
536, Zerubbabel and Joshua had taken about 50,000 Jews back and had (by 516)
rebuilt the temple. In 457 there had been a small revival under Ezra, but now it
was 445, and God was looking for someone to go to the ruined city and restore
safety and order. Nehemiah was to be that person.
Nehemiah 1:1-4, The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,
Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Whenever God wants to get a work done, He lays hold of willing people. The walls of Jerusalem had been ruined; a small remnant had returned; and there was much work that needed to be done. In 536, Zerubbabel and Joshua had taken about 50,000 Jews back and had (by 516) rebuilt the temple. In 457 there had been a small revival under Ezra, but now it was 445, and God was looking for someone to go to the ruined city and restore safety and order. Nehemiah was to be that person.
Nehemiah's brother has been on a trip to Jerusalem and he comes back. Jerusalem is about 800 to 1000 miles from Susa. In those days it would probably be about a two months travel on camel. It is all traveling across the desert. When he returns back to Susa Nehemiah ask his brother to give him a report about all of the relatives and what's happening over there in Jerusalem. Hanani answer to Nehemiah was not very good. We read in verse 3 , "those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire".
When Nehemiah heard the report his reaction was overwhelming; he wept, mourned, fasted and prayed for some days. Not just one day, but several days.It started in the month of Chislev when he heard about it and we read in chapter 2:1,"In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, ...." He has been praying all this time. From these two Persian months it had been four months. Nehemiah took the report seriously. It stirred sorrow in his heart. In response he prayed for four months for his brethern in the jprovince of Jerusalem.
A prayer burden is defined as a heaviness of heart and spirit; It is an expression of God's concern regarding a need in someone's life or concerning a particular situation. A prayer burden is always directed toward a specific need or situation that God wants to change.
The Purpose of a
The main function of a prayer burden is to get us on ;our knees before the Lord and pray in accordance with the will of the Lord. This type of burden ia directed toward a specific need. In Nehemiah's case the burden was a result of God's sorrow over the sad state of affairs in Jerusalem. God wanted those circumstances changed so He burdened Nehemiah. Nehemiah immediately obeyed the call to fast and pray for his brethren in Jerusalem.
The Process of a
When God sees a situation He wants to change He begins to search for someone who can be trusted to take the burden seriously. Nehemiah possessed characteristics of a person whom God could trust to give this prayer burden to. It is the same today. When God's finds someone that can be trusted to obey He gives that person a burden. The appointed one begins to have a heavy heart and begins to pray. Why does God chose this method to do His work? Because God works through His people.
2 Chronicles_7:14 , If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
God communicates His burden to us usually in one of the following ways.
Prayer burdens may come suddenly or slowly and grow in intensity. It is pertinent that one does not mistake a prayer burden for some physical or emotional need. Remember too, Satan will tempt you to put off seeking the Lord in response to a prayer burden. Some prayer burdens are more intense than others. It depends on the magnitude of the situation.
The Kind of
Believer that Will Receive a Prayer Burden
A person must be sensitive to the needs of others an have a deep concern about the things God cares about. Nehemiah's reaction was pretty incredible. He was at the peak of his career and was second position in the kingdom. He had never seen Jerusalem because he was born in Babylon and had been there for 70 years. But that did not hinder Nehemiah from being concerned about his people that had been delivered from Babylonians. They were his people and Jerusalem was God's territory. Even though he had it made for himself, he was still concerned about his people and the broken walls of Jerusalem. Since God cared about it, Nehemiah cared about it and that made him a candidate for a "prayer burden". He had a proven track record. King Artaxerxes considered him to be trustworthy and he had given him a reliable position of the kingdom - a cupbearer. He intrusted his personal security to Nehemiah. There was an enormous trust between the two men.
|God uses people who are trustworthy, reliable and dependable.|
|Are you credible?|
|Do you portray Christian character?|
|Are you sensitive to others?|
|Can God rely on you?|
|Dependability is much more important than ability.|
Are you available? God is looking for people to use.
|Ezekial 22:30 (LB), "I (God) looked in vain for anyone who would build again the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who could stand in the gap, but I found not one."|
God is looking for
people who will say, " God, I want to be willing to be used by You
anywhere, anytime and anyway".