May 12, 2020

Has God ever given you a burden about something and you either didn’t know what to do or lacked the power and resources to do something about it?

Nehemiah was an Israelite living in exile in a foreign land.  He grieved for his people and homeland that was in total disarray over 1500 miles away.  However, God had put a burden and a plan in Nehemiah’s heart (2:12) to help his people and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.  God would even provide the means by which to get the job done by moving on the heart of an apparently good, yet pagan king.  Artaxerxes was sensitive to Nehemiah’s concerns and gave him the permission and authority to take care of the spiritual and civil needs of his people in the distant province.

But even with the permission and authority of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah was still opposed by people who did not appreciate the work he was called to do. Even when we are called by God to see something through, we can expect to be opposed. 

Nehemiah 1 & 2

Report from Jerusalem

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

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. 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, 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. 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.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 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 Sent to Judah

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls

Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.

11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Are you facing something that you feel you lack the knowledge or resources to do anything about? 

Does it keep you awake at night and perhaps even steals your joy? 

If it is truly something God has placed in your heart like Nehemiah, then ask God to strengthen you and trust him to provide the means to meet the need and see it through.  And even when seemingly well-intentioned people might oppose you, don’t become sidetracked or disillusioned. Follow Nehemiah’s example by staying the course and keep “praying before the God of heaven” (1:4).

44 thoughts on “Navigating Your New Normal: Day 1

  1. Dear Heavenly Father,
    I come before you thankful as always that you are my Savior and Lord and for Your love for me which reaches far beyond measure. You know that I live with a heavy heart from many great circumstances in my life . All of these situations have happened within my family that has been torn apart by great sin and living a life apart from You, Lord. Though I have tried to be a stable force and model and a help to them in so many ways, they remaim in such turmoil and brokenness. I have been unable to change the outcome of their lives. I realize that You Lord are the only means by which such a change could occur.
    I am powerless without you Lord. They are nothing with out You. Though many are hundreds of miles away, please touch their hearts and change their minds.You are not deterred by distance nor circumstance. I have faith in You, Lord. For through You, all things are possible.
    Please put a hedge of protection around them and place in their paths people who will show them the way, as I have failed in my many attempts. I lay them at your feet Lord.
    Please open my eyes to ways I can help pr give me the means to do so, if it is Your good and perfect will. I ask these things, in the name of Jesus’. Amen.

    1. Here my sister’s prayer dear God. Grant her the peace that passes all understanding that flows from you and your Holy Spirit. Bless her family – Be Glorified and Honored. AMEN

    2. This prayer spoke to my heart! I have two adult grandsons that I have tried to work with for years, yet they remain in darkness and turmoil. In fact, the whole prayer speaks directly to my needs. Thanks for sharing it.

    3. Jan, I would like to say that your prayer really spoke to me, specifically in regards to my brother, David. I pray that the Lord will call him loud and clear and give him a renewed mind a spirit. I also pray a hedge of protection around him while he is out in the world apart from Christ. Nothing hurts more than knowing that those you love so dearly are not willing to surrender to the One who can bring them true, everlasting peace. May God hear our prayers for those whom we love so much, in Jesus’ name, amen!

  2. Heavenly Father, thank you for your word. May we who read this lesson today, cry out for forgiveness. May we weep tears of repentance. May we stay on our knees until we hear from you. Those inside and outside our church have many, many needs – physical and spiritual. I lift up my hands and my voice and give them to you this day. You, Father, can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime. Go before us, guide us, empower us. May we only hear your voice this day. In all we do, help us to find one more for Jesus, for it is in his name we pray, Amen.

  3. Thank you for Nehemiah who was so faithful to walk and pray before the Lord. May you give me courage and strength to seek your face daily for forgiveness of sin and bring joy and comfort to hurting people around me. God has a plan for recovery of America.

      1. Happy to be starting a new devotional series through Nehemiah. Thanks to all who are jumping in and continuing this rhythm!

  4. Fortify our wall of faith around our homes, our city, our State and Country. I pray that you protect us, lead us, and give us your wisdom as we fight this virus. Be gloried and honored by our service and dedication to you. Bless the students today that I lead; fortify me with your strength, your wisdom and knowledge as I encourage and work for you.

  5. Lord, help us grow as we gleam these insights from Nehemiah’s journey with You. Thank You for being our Navigator as we prepare for our new normal.

  6. Father,

    I pray for discernment and Your will to be done regarding what I believe You laid on my heart so many years ago to do. I ask that you forgive me for my lack of courage and faith to walk out on the water and trust You fully with this desire.

    Let me hear from You clearly about the steps that need to be taken so I will proceed with Your hand of direction and blessing. When I’m worried and afraid and feel “less than”, and don’t know how to take the next step, I ask that You shine Your light in front of me and let me hear You whisper, “This way, My daughter.” Don’t let me confuse my desires with Your desires for my life, dear Jesus.

    Thank you for this scripture reading today and the encouragement Nehemiah’s story brings to help me stay the course and keep following after the task You’ve set before me. I pray all the stories that You’re currently writing in each of our lives will bring encouragement to other souls for Your kingdom and for Your glory.

    In Jesus’s name.


  7. Father, You are our wall…our protector and our shield… Create in us a new heart and desire to share You, the wall of the world, with Your children we come in contact with.


  8. Thank you Lord, for your ever patient heart and love that you show us over and over again in the words of the Bible; your Living Word, which sustains us and gives us breath daily. You show us time and time again throughout scripture, that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU, if we just obey and step out in faith that you are able to do all things. Just as Peter took that first step, when you called him out of the boat, but whoa to us when our eyes are turned from you to the circumstances around us, we begin to sink. We take our eyes off of you and all our fears and anxiety become bigger than even you.


    You, oh Lord, are our HIDING PLACE, for your Word says, Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

  9. Amen.

    I began the daily devotional with the church’s 21 days of devotional readings. I was surprised to learn 21 days had zoomed by and the 21 days had come to a conclusion on Sunday. To my delight, I read I could continue receiving the daily readings through email. Today is my birthday and Day 1 of this new series… in my heart I feel it’s a gift directly from God. I love how when we open our selves to God, he speaks to us so boldly. Wishing everyone a beautiful day.

  10. I pray to have the determination, endurance and perseverance to do God’s will.

  11. Can’t remember the last time I have done a study in Nehemiah.
    Amen to Nehemiah for your faith.

  12. Jesus,
    Thank you for the powerful prayers that has touched my heart today. Thank you for the ones that have shared their hearts today and the open transparency. Lord, we need you to guide us, open our hearts and ears to hear from you. I can’t thank you enough for your love for this world. In Jesus name. Amen

  13. Oh Lord, Help us each day as we embrace the new normal. Thank you for keeping my family & me safe during these times. In Jesus Name, Amen

  14. Years ago, God gave me an idea to “repair the walls and rebuild the gates”, something that will bring honor to my Lord Jesus Christ. I suggested it to an expert that he do this but he said that it couldn’t be done. Then, I believe, that God told me that I should do it myself. But I said that I don’t have the skills to do it, in typical Mosaic fashion. But God will not let me forget it. This new study of Nehemiah has already spoken to me that I must do this job and that He will supply the needs. God has given me just this morning an idea of an Aaron. I must be about the Father’s business. Glory to God.

    1. Thankful to study this book again.
      Lord, prepare our hearts to receive all that you have for us at this time. Give us courage and boldness to join you in your work. Thank you that we can see your faithfulness fleshed out.

  15. Love having the opportunity to study Scripture this way and to read and hear the prayers of God’s people and their comments. Thank you for Your provisions, Lord, and how You supply our needs just when we need them most. I am joining in prayer right now for those who have poured out their hearts and have left their pleas on the Altar. God bless them good, Father. Amen.

  16. “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build…Follow Nehemiah’s example by staying the course and keep “praying before the God of heaven” (1:4).

  17. I love Nehemiah’s call to build a wall, his heart for the people and his example in the middle of brokenness…..

  18. I love this book and it is exactly the kind of prayer that we need for such a time as this. Thank you Father that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in this time of need. Where it feels like we have no control over this situation happening in our country and the world. 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 servants today, and grant us mercy. In Jesus Name Amen

  19. Help me be bold in everything I do, like Nehemiah. Help me seek you, trust you to provide a way to do what you want to do in my life.

  20. Thank you Father for Nehemiah’s heart and his desire to restore your house. Lord, you even touched the king’s heart to allow Nehemiah to go and do what you wanted done despite opposition from the
    enemy. Father, help me to always be ready to share the Gospel with others who dont know you. Give me the boldness like Nehemiah to have the passion to share your love with others in spite of any opposition that comes my way. I love you, Lord with all my heart. Thank you for saving me when I was lost. I want others to come to know you and your everlasting love for them. In Jesus precious Name I pray, Amen.

  21. Heavenly Father, thank you for your timely message(s). I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me❤

  22. Thank you my Father for your word. Thank you for the life of Nehemiah you are using to tell us more of who you are. Thank you for your Holy Spirit our teacher and counselor. I pray Father that you help me/us to recognize the needs you bring our way, that you cause my/our spirit to grieve over the unmet needs you allow our way, that you help us to have the courage and boldness of Nehemiah to rise up to whatever the call may be. Help me to claim your promises that you have gone ahead of me and made my path straight, help me to claim that I am more than conqueror because of the finished work of my Savior Jesus Christ, help me to know that though distractions arise, you and you alone is my focus and my strength is from you. My Sovereign Lord, search my heart, you know my anxious thoughts, see if any unrighteousness, cleanse me, and lead me in your everlasting path. In Jesus name?.

  23. Jan, thank you for sharing your prayer with us. So many people feel the same way, thinking we have made mistakes in raising our children, that we are not good parents, and it’s our fault that our kids make mistakes and bad choices. I, too, pray for my son, that God will protect him and put the right people in his path who can be positive influences in his life. The struggle is real, but we know that God has a plan for our kids and we must, like you said, lay them at His feet. We keep on praying for our children, knowing God is working even when we don’t see it, making them into what He wants them to be. Thank You, Father God, for Your love. You love our kids more than we do, and we trust You to keep working on them. Have Your way, Father God.

  24. Nehemiah fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

    Help me God to do your will, even in the face of opposition.

  25. Lord, help me to have the focus and faith like Nehemiah! If You have called me to do something, than I can trust You have made a path and worked out the details! I can trust You!

  26. It’s so cool how not only did God give Nehemiah favor with “time off” but God provided with materials and resources as well!

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