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Prayer the Nehemiah Way, Part 3 of 8

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 30, 2009


See Part 2
 

The Prayer:

Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. (4:4,5)

When Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), I think he was thinking of a prayer just like this.

One thing you will notice about Nehemiah is that he knew he was walking into a very dangerous situation when he traveled back to Jerusalem.  There were people in the land that wanted to stop any rebuilding of Jerusalem.  They would taunt the workers day and night, but there were some things you notice in Nehemiah that are critical to understanding Jesus message.

First, Nehemiah expressed his anger toward his enemies to God.  It is not easy to come right out and “love” your enemy.  By its very definition, this is not possible.  However, what Nehemiah does is direct his anger toward God.  He doesn’t carry out anger on his enemy.  This is essential to a good witness.  How can you tell someone about the love of God when you are expressing anger and hate?

David did this quite often.  He would be abused by his enemies and then take that anger to God.  When he later encountered his enemies, he took mercy on them.  Had he not directed his anger to God, he may have sinned by doing something to his enemies that would displease God.

When you get angry, don’t sin (See Ephesian 4:26).  Remember that prayer is simply conversations with God.  That is what you need to have so that God can relieve you of the anger and let you see more clearly.

Finally, he leaves the judgment of his enemies to God alone.  This is important.  You do not have the right as a believer to carry out judgment on others.  It is God’s to avenge.  It is also perfectly fine for you to acknowledge to God that you’d like Him to avenge.  This is not contrary to the “pray for those that persecute you”, it is simply being honest.

You may also want to include prayers like, “forgive me for my anger”, “help me love my enemy”, and others similar to this if you find yourself praying for vengence.

Certainly the goal of a believer is to mature, and as you do, you will find that your enemies have less impact on your spiritual well-being.  David late in his life actually passed by one of his enemies as insults were being hurled at him.  He calmly let it happen even supposing that they could be words from God to keep him humble (2 Samuel 16:5-14).  When reading stories about David like that, keep in mind that God considered him a man after his own heart.

So in short, don’t take matters into your own hands with your enemies and those that want to hurt you; go to God first, release your frustration, ask for a change of heart and react with the wisdom God gives you.

See Part 4

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One Response to “Prayer the Nehemiah Way, Part 3 of 8”

  1. […] Prayer the Nehemiah Way, Part 4 of 8 August 31, 2009 Posted by undergroundchurch in Uncategorized. Tags: Christian living, Christianity, church, culture, faith, Forgiveness, God, Hearing God, Jesus, knowledge, life, love, Relationships, religion, theology, Thoughts trackback Part 3 […]

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