relentless pursuit


The Passage: Nehemiah 2:4-5 

The Point: Two ways to pray

I once thought my wife and I were pretty similar. Now? I keep finding more and more ways we are different. One of the main differences is that I’m a Type A personality. This means I like to have my entire life organized in certain ways. When everything is in order, I’m all set. My wife, on the other hand, is a Type B personality. This means what I do just stresses her out. er  She’s far less neurotic than I am and much more “free spirited.”

In Nehemiah, we see two different ways he operated in his prayer life. In Nehemiah 1, he has detailed, long, and organized times of prayer and fasting. We learn from the beginning of Nehemiah 2 that he did this for four months! But in verse 4, we see him use a rapid-fire prayer, a prayer that’s on the fly in the moment or a “free spirited” prayer. Which of these types of prayers do you employ most?

Some consistently set aside 15 minutes in the morning to pray. They pray for patience with coworker Kathy every day because God knows she’s going to break the printer again. But then when they get to work and she breaks the printer, they don’t think to respond with prayer. Come on, Kathy! Some don’t set aside time for regular prayer. They pray on the fly instead. These are the people who wake up 20 minutes before they have to get to work, and as they are running in the door, there goes Kathy again! Come on, Kathy! But hey, after a small meltdown they remember they need to bring that before the Lord so they throw up a quick prayer. Then others just stink at both kinds of prayer so they don’t like Kathy very much.

The truth is we need both kinds of prayer. This truth is simple – and I know you already know it – we’ve got to take prayer seriously. Prayer is where God’s power and human initiative collide. Nothing of eternal significance comes apart from prayer.


  • Why do you think Nehemiah needed to pray again in the midst of this conversation?
  • Which type of prayer do you need to add to your daily routine?


  • What could be your daily rhythm for a determined prayer time?
  • Who or what can you pray for? List a few specific situations and people.
  • Who can keep you accountable?
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