The Passage: Nehemiah 1:5. Additional reading: Matthew 5:9-12, Psalm 35
The Point: A high view of God
Nehemiah not only prays about his burden, but also about who His God is. We see this all throughout Scripture! My fear is we miss it far too often. We pray to God like he’s a cosmic gumball machine, and we’re hoping we get the right color. We offer up requests and we offer up our burdens, but we don’t offer up our perspective. Don’t get me wrong. God WANTS to hear our requests. God WANTS to know our burdens. But God also WANTS us to align our hearts with the truth of who He is. He designed for us to do that through prayer.
Why is praying TO God, ABOUT God so important? Doesn’t he know who He is? Of course He does! We adore God through prayer for His glory and our benefit ― in that order. God gets the glory when we praise his name in the courtyard or in the closet. Then to make the deal sweeter, our hearts and minds become set on God, who is FAR bigger, FAR wiser, and FAR stronger than any of our burdens. Our perspective gets put in its proper place.
In his book You Can Change, Tim Chester identified four life-giving truths about God:
- God is great – so we don’t have to be in control.
- God is glorious – so we don’t have to fear others.
- God is good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere.
- God is gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves
Setting our hearts and minds on who God is changes the way we live. Planting 100 neighborhood churches is a HUGE task but not compared to God’s greatness. Sharing the gospel in an everyday conversation could lead to rejection, but who wins? Is it about your glory or God’s glory? I think the answer is obvious. When we set our eyes on God’s glory and not our own, the fear of man slowly becomes blurrier. Rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem was a tall task for Nehemiah. It could take years. But God helped him get it done in 52 days.
- What characteristics of God did Nehemiah turn to in his prayer?
- How do you think he aligned his heart to meet God’s calling?
- Take time to pray and just adore God for who He is. He is great; He is glorious; He is good; and He is gracious.
- What are some truths about God that you need to pray this week?
- Is there a tangible step that you need to take to help you fix your perspective?
- Who can you tell?