Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Nehemiah 1:1-11 As I read and reflected on the book of Nehemiah chapter 1, a couple of things were revealed to me. Nehemiah hears about the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Israelites who were in distress, the wall of Jerusalem lies breached and its gates have been gutted with fire. Hearing this you might think that he would jump into action, run to examine the damage, and determine a plan of action. But Nehemiah’s response is very different, he began to weep and continued mourning for several days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. His response was prayer. No matter what you are going through today, let your response to every situation be a prayerful one. Surrendering all to God our Father through Christ. Here are 7 things Nehemiah teaches us in his way of praying which I think are profound and hold valuable lessons. His prayer begins with Acknowledging God with all His majestic qualities, and His merciful deeds, and in this acknowledgment, we can sense a voice filled with humility and fear of the Lord. “LORD, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you preserve your covenant of mercy with those who love you and keep your commandments." A second element we find is him asking God to be attentive. Nehemiah humbly asks God to listen to his prayer as he says: "May your ears be attentive, and your eyes open, to hear the prayer that I, your servant, now offer in your presence day and night for your servants the Israelites,". Another thing Nehemiah does is to acknowledge his sinfulness and those of the Israelites. "confessing the sins we have committed against you, I and my ancestral house included. We have greatly offended you, not keeping the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances you entrusted to your servant Moses." What is in your life that you can acknowledge in God’s presence that makes you unworthy of God’s attention? Acknowledge those sins and ask God for his forgiveness and mercy. Click Here for an examination of conscience from 'beginning catholic' that I found helpful. What I really love about Nehemiah, is that he reminds God of His promises, we can do this too. Every day, look at what you believe are God’s promises and blessings in your life and remind him of them. First and foremost God’s promise for humanity is Christ, and this promise is fulfilled every day as we encounter Him each day in Mass, in prayer, and through others. All of this comes from a place of love, gratitude, and awareness of the promises He has given to you. Surrender: Leaving everything to God's will with total trust- We take who we are, everything we have, whatever we have prayed for and leave it in His hands and His will. This is one of the hardest elements. On one hand, we want to trust completely, but we also doubt or struggle with letting go of our sense of control. The moment we can learn to leave everything to God’s hands we can rest easy knowing He has our back and make our ask like Nehemiah: Asking God to "grant success to your servant this day, and let him find favor with this man” In summary, develop your prayer by following these 7 key things and deepen your conversation with our Lord.
Acknowledge God with His Majestic Qualities expressing humility “O Lord, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you who preserve your covenant of mercy toward those who love you and keep your commandments.”
Ask God to be attentive- Nehemiah humbly asks God to listen to his prayer. Do you intentionally ask God to listen to your prayer? How might you ask Him to be attentive?
Acknowledge your sinfulness
Ask for Forgiveness and God’s Mercy (Let me add for mortal sins make a resolution to receive the sacrament of reconciliation)
Remember God’s promises to you and your loved ones – Remind God of these promises. What do you believe are God's promises to you and your loved ones?
Surrender all to God’s hands and His will- download the Litany of Trust
Make your ask- Grant us success according to Thy will.
Let us pray together, surrendering ourselves to our Lord; Lord Jesus, I give you my hands to do your work. I give you my feet to follow your path. I give you my eyes to see as you see. I give you my tongue to speak your words. I give you my mind so you can think in me. I give you my spirit so you can pray in me. Above all I give you my heart so in me, you can love your Father and all people. I give you my whole self so you can grow in me; Till it is you, Christ, Who live and work and pray in me. Amen.