Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 86:1-7 | Nehemiah 1:1 — 3:14 | 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 | Proverbs 21: 1-2
Today’s Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 1-3
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:11 NIV)
Cupbearers tend to be people of prayer (being the guinea pig for possible poisoning will bring on that tendency). Contractors tend to be people of action. Nehemiah was both. A Burdened heart led to powerful intercession. The struggle of prayer led to an open door by the blessing of God. A praying cupbearer was given opportunity to put feet to his prayers.
The King saw Nehemiah’s distress and asked him why he looked the way he did. Nehemiah, because the hand of the Lord was upon him, grew bold and not only told the king the reason for his distress but also made some major requests. The praying cupbearer became the contractor on a major project: Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
The foundation for his work was laid in prayer. It always is. People of action must also be people of prayer. To try to do God’s work without laying the prayer foundation will lead to frustration and walls that won’t stand for long. As one seasoned prayer warrior said, “We must do more than pray, but not until we have prayed.”
People of prayer must always be people of action. While people of prayer know how to wait until the right time, they don’t procrastinate their obedience when God opens the door. They step out in faith expecting the hand of the Lord to be upon them. They expect God to already be at work, preparing the way for their steps of obedient faith.
Nehemiah’s story also reminds us that it isn’t only the pastor’s job that is important. Whatever we do should be done for the glory of God. Ezra (the ministry role) and Nehemiah (the contractor role) had to work together to get the job done (not to mention prophets like Zechariah). If you are a cupbearer, God can use that for his glory. If you are a contractor, he can use that too. Whatever your vocation or calling, God would have you do it with all your heart unto him (bringing him great glory).
Like Nehemiah, lay the foundation of prayer and look for the opportunity to act. This is the way to glorify God and to accomplish great things for him.
Heavenly Father, continue to teach me that prayer should be the foundation of all I do. Continue to teach me that I must also act as you open doors and empower me to do the things you have called me to do. Help me to be a leader who balances prayer and action. Amen.