God keeps his promises! When you believe it, it changes the way you pray.
The year was 445 B.C. The wall around Jerusalem, once stout and sure, lay in ruin and rubble. Nehemiah would have none of that. He ached for his city and he yearned for God's glory. Something had to be done. Someone had to step up and lead.
That someone was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah embraced the leadership challenge of his life -- to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. The biblical account records his heart-felt prayer:
Whoa! Nehemiah, did you flunk Theology 101? Come on man! God is omniscient. He knows all. He never forgets. Why in the world would you cry out, "Remember"?
What we need to know is that Nehemiah's words were not an attempt to jog God's memory. They were an act of faith. This great leader was recalling God's promise in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. Here is a portion of that promise:
God guaranteed to restore his repentant people, even when their sin had pushed them to the "uttermost parts of heaven." In faith, Nehemiah was asking God to make good on that promise and he wasn't the least bit shy about it.
Nehemiah teaches me to pray the promises of God. Praying the promises has become a very important lesson for me. It is also a great tool in my Bible Reading Toolbox. Here are some of the ways I do this:
- When I'm tired I pray: Lord, remember you said, "They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." I need that strength.
- When I am in need I pray: Lord, remember you said, "My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." I need you to come through.
- When I begin to doubt I pray: Lord remember, you said you "can do abundantly more than all I ask or think." Please surprise me!
- When I am beside myself with frustration I pray: Lord remember you said that you "work all things together for good." Let me see your pattern of meaning in this mess.
- When I am battling temptation I pray: "Lord, remember you said that you will not let me be tempted beyond my ability. You said that you will provide the way of escape so I can endure it." Help me see your escape hatch--and take it!
You can trust God to fulfill his promises. David gives us the reason why:
Think about that for a moment. Every promise that God makes has a direct bearing on his character and his word. There is no way God is going to renege on a promise.
Praying the promises of God is not an exercise in "I hope He will," but a humble declaration that says, "I know He will." As you read the Scripture and spot a promise, don't be shy about asking God to make good!
- If you missed Sunday's sermon, We Are Biblically Anchored, you can get it by clicking here.
- If you need a Bible Reading Plan, click here.
- For Bible references quoted:
"Those who wait for the Lord" from Isaiah 40:29-32
"My God will supply" from Philippians 4:13
"Abundantly more" from Ephesians 3:20
"Not let me be tempted beyond my ability" from 1 Corinthians 10:32