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Prayer reveals our dependency on God.
Main Idea: Prayer Reveals our Dependency on God
I tend to notice that when my life is going really well, I find myself praying less.
As in when my life is up and too the right, I tend to not be dependent on God.
Or so I think.
I tend to just live life without going to God for anything.
Do I still pray?
I do, but my prays tend to be shallow.
I’m not asking God for anything, I’m thankful, but I’m not thanking God.
Because honestly I think that all the stuff that is going well is dependent on me.
Rather then it being dependent on God.
I go through the motions of prayer without really praying.
It is like I think that I am the cause of the blessing and all the great things in my life.
Now, I would never say that or think that, out loud.
Except for this moment when I am just trying to be real with you.
But what happens when the storms hit my life.
Well that is God’s fault— it’s clearly not mine.
I mean I am the one responsible for all the good in my life right.
So when things go south— guess what my prayer life picks up a lot.
I tend to find myself praying more.
I seek Him out.
And yeah— sometimes it is to yell and scream and other times it is with tears in my eyes, wondering God do you even love me?
So if I can be real with you and recount everything that I have said tonight: When things are going great— I tend to be only dependent on me— God has nothing to do with how great things are going.
Then life gets hard: It is God’s fault and now I have to be dependent on Him or else the hard time in my life will only get harder.
You see how that is messed up right.
Because I need to be dependent on God all day everyday.
And realize that God works all things out for His good and for His glory.
Do you find yourself here?
Because I think your prayer life and mine might look like this.
Or maybe you don’t even have a prayer life— as in you don’t know how to pray.
or maybe you are thinking, I pray no matter what and I understand that my prayer life reveals my dependence on God.
I love that!
I hope that you are encouraged today.
But if you find yourself going hmmm, when things are going well— I tend not to pray— or when things go badly that is when I pray.
Then I think we can learn something this evening.
My hope is that you have a life that is described by your prayer.
That you have a dependency on God that is a testament to your prayer life.
We are going to be in the book of Nehemiah tonight.
And you want to talk about a guy who had a good prayer life it was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah spoke to God often and when the news he gets rocks him to his core he goes to the Lord and seeks Him out.
The best part is God is was already working through the storm.
Let’s check this out.
Nehemiah’s story begins with Nehemiah’s prayer on behalf of his people, the Israelites.
The Israelites were in exile.
They had been for about 70 years.
They were not walking with God and now it cost them.
Most of the Israelites were in Babylon but some were still left over in Israel.
Nehemiah, whose name means God has comforted, was introduced as this mediator who represented God’s people before Him.
So we have people returning back to their homes.
The remnant that returned to Jerusalem and Judea needed the comfort of God’s protection as they inhabited a city with broken down walls.
You can image how dangerous this would be.
I know we don’t have walls around the city of Galesburg, but in his time if your side was not surrounded by a wall— you were in trouble.
Armies could just roll in and wipe you out.
Nehemiah cried out to God, well aware of His promise to preserve His people (Ezra 1:1-11).
The people needed the protection of their faithful God because, as the passage tells us, they were in great trouble (1:4).
The desperate but trusting posture of prayer exemplified by Nehemiah in response to this situation is instructive.
When Nehemiah saw the plight of his people, he wept and mourned, fasting and praying to the sovereign God of heaven.
• What can you learn from Nehemiah’s response to the news from the remnant in Jerusalem?
What I love about Nehemiah is that He went to the only one who could do anything about his situation.
Lots of times in our lives we go to lots of other things to help our situations rather then going to the only one who can fix our current state.
Nehemiah’s prayer indicated that He intimately knew the God of heaven, Yahweh.
This was a prayer to the one true God, the God of Israel.
Listen in on Nehemiah’s prayer.
Take a look at the prayer of Nehemiah.
What attributes of God did he appeal to?
What characteristics did he use to describe the people?
Notice that when Nehemiah called out to the God of Israel, he also confessed Israel’s sin and recalled their commitment to obedience from the time of Moses.
Nehemiah confessed that he and the entire people of God had become corrupt and had failed to keep the commands given to Moses (1:6-7).
He recognized that their sin had resulted in their current situation (1:8).
Their disobedience had led to their exile in Babylon.
However, there was hope.
Nehemiah recalled that God would reestablish His people if they returned to Him.
Although their disobedience brought exile, their obedience would bring blessing (Lev.
26:3–13; Deut.
Like Moses, Nehemiah appealed to God’s covenant that if Israel repented He would restore them to the land.
This story tells of the second exodus of God’s people.
In one sense, Israel returned to their land by the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 5:13).
However, we know that God providentially worked in Cyrus as an instrument to bring about His plans just as he did with Pharaoh in Egypt.
Just like in the first exodus, it was ultimately by the mighty hand of God that Israel was redeemed.
The similarities allowed Nehemiah to pray with confidence, looking back at the first exodus event in Egypt, and looking forward through the Babylonian exodus to find comfort in the covenant-keeping God who shows His steadfast love to His people.
As God heard Nehemiah’s prayer— God was already putting things into motion.
God does not sit on his hands waiting for you to ask for something.
God is already working and moving.
While we go to God in prayer, the last thing that we want to do is just say a prayer and then sit on our hands.
That doesn’t sound right either.
God may be using you to achieve his will meaning that you need to take action as well.
As in God is going to open doors but you have to be willing to walk through them.
This is what Nehemiah did.
Chapter 2 granted us access to the king’s table.
As Nehemiah the cupbearer handed the king his wine, the king noticed something was off (1:11; 2:1).
This was the first time Nehemiah had been sad in the king’s presence, so the king discerned that something was wrong.
The king knew Nehemiah well enough to see that something was wrong with him.
And the King asked him.
Door opened up.
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