The Praying Man Is Not On The Bench
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king. — Nehemiah 1:11
Today, we finish exploring the four C.O.R.E. elements of Nehemiah's prayer by focusing on Entrusting our Plans to God.
- Connecting With God.
- Owning Our Sin.
- Recalling God’s Faithfulness.
- Entrusting Our Plans.
So, this is where Nehemiah finally takes action on his prayer. Sometimes, when we are in a critical moment, we fire off these sudden prayers and ask for God's direction. Other times, we spend months ruminating on Scripture and direction before taking the right action. Both prayers are needed—sudden prayer with quick action and steady prayer with cautious action.
But here's the point: Prayer and action are linked. Godly prayer is always linked with Godly action.
Getting practical, Nehemiah was about to take his faith, belief, and prayed-up convictions straight to the top of the workplace. Nehemiah's role as a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes was a position of significant responsibility and trust in the Persian court. Here are three critical aspects of his role:
- He Was a Trusted Advisor: The cupbearer was often close to the king and had the opportunity to be a trusted advisor. This proximity to the king meant that the cupbearer could influence decisions or gain insights into the king's thoughts and plans.
- He Guarded the King: One of the primary duties of a cupbearer was to protect the king from poisoning. This meant tasting the wine and food before serving it to the king to ensure it wasn't poisoned.
- He Held High Status: Serving as a cupbearer was not just a menial task but a high-status position. It indicated that the person was trusted by the king and often involved in courtly matters beyond just serving wine.
In Nehemiah's case, his position allowed him to request King Artaxerxes' permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls—a pivotal moment in Jewish history. His proximity and earned trust were instrumental in the success of this request.
Nehemiah's actions should challenge believing men today. Too often, men of faith act timidly, staying silent in matters of faith. This behavior is a key reason behind many issues we see in the world. I often hear Christian men and men's groups in coffee shops express their bafflement at the state of the family, church, workplace, and world, questioning how things became so disconnected from biblical values. The reason is clear: Godly men have been passive and silent. We've failed to disciple our children, address indoctrination in schools, correct false teachings in the church, and counter unscriptural agendas in our countries.
Reflect on Nehemiah, a man who risked his life by pairing prayer with action. He didn't just pray; he took bold steps.
So, if you're feeling a bit ashamed today, it's time to start acting. Pray and act. Pray and act. Pray about your marriage, and then act in a loving way. Pray for your children and then act by discipling. Pray about your job, then serve with integrity. Perhaps, one day, God will place you in a situation where you're ready to pray a bold prayer that could risk your head being removed from your body, and then watch to see if God doesn't work through you in ways beyond your imagination. Remember, there is no man living, not even the king of Persia, who is greater than our God. What we need today are more Godly men who actually believe this.
Nehemiah's story shows a deep connection between prayer and action. Reflect on your own life: In what areas are you currently seeking God's guidance through prayer? How can you follow Nehemiah's example by coupling your prayers with concrete actions, showing your faith in God's guidance and providence?
Nehemiah's position as a cupbearer required immense trust and responsibility, yet he used it to serve a greater purpose. Discuss a time when you were in a challenging or influential position. How did you use your faith to guide your actions? What lessons can you learn from Nehemiah's example about using your position or influence for God's glory, especially in difficult situations?
DO THIS: Pray and act on one thing today.
PRAY THIS: Father, guide me to pair my prayers with bold actions, just as Nehemiah did, and use my influence and position to glorify You and serve Your purpose. Grant me the courage and wisdom to act faithfully, reflecting Your love and guidance in every step I take. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Do Something.
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