Today’s Verse: As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. —Nehemiah 1:4
Your Challenge: Earnestly pray for revival.
What do you do when a nation is crumbling around you? Some ignore the situation, selfishly consumed with their own small world. Others seek a political solution. Many talk about the problem but do absolutely nothing to stem the tide of moral and spiritual decay.
But one man did the one thing that brought revival to his nation.
Nehemiah was a servant in captivity. When he asked his brothers what was happening in his native land of Israel, they told him that the nation was in ruins.
What was Nehemiah’s response (and what should be ours)?
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven (Neh. 1:4).
This was not a momentary prayer but rather “day and night” intercession that lasted over the course of four months. The content of his prayer could frame our revival intercession.
Look Up: Seeking Him in Praise
Nehemiah began where we must start in our prayers. He looked up at our promise-keeping God.
And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants” (Neh. 1:5–6).
As you pray for revival, begin here. Rehearse before God all He has done in the past in turning people and nations back to Him. Remind yourself in prayer of the sovereign power of the ultimate King who holds the heart of every king in His hand (Prov. 21:1).
Look In: Seeking Him for Our Own Hearts
Nehemiah poured out his soul in confession, honestly admitting that what was happening was not God’s fault, but theirs.
“I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses” (Neh. 1:6–7).
There has never been a revival in history that does not begin here. We can spend our time blaming government, entertainment, or cultural forces and we will gain little ground before God. But God promises to hear our prayer when we begin with repentant confession (2 Chron. 7:14).
As you begin to pray for revival, give God time to search your heart. Ask Him what is in you that is aborting His reviving presence. Ask Him to show you the sins of the Church and our nation, and confess those corporate sins before the Lord.
Look Out: Seeking Him on Behalf of Others
Most of us are self-focused in our intercession, but Nehemiah had a larger kingdom vision.
“Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand” (Neh. 1:8–10).
Nehemiah prayed a Word-based, promise-based prayer, reminding God of what He had already said He would do. We are never on better praying ground than when we pray God’s Word back to Him.
But Then . . .
Nehemiah does more, offering himself as an instrument of revival as he went before the King (v. 11). If we are serious about revival, we must do the same.
Reflect and Respond:
- Do you spend time talking or complaining about our nation’s condition or praying night and day?
- Are you daily confessing your sins and the sins of our nation, taking responsibility before God for what has happened?
- Are you searching the Scriptures and praying God’s promises for revival back to Him?