"Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?" So I prayed to the God of heaven." - Nehemiah 2:4
Nehemiah, was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, the King of Persia. He had been earnestly praying for five months about the need to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Finally he had decided to approach the king and ask for help. The delicacy of his position of great trust with the king was such that he must never appear to be taking advantage of that relationship for personal gain. If he misused his position, it wouldn’t just be, “You’re fired!” It would almost certainly mean prison or a death sentence, so that the next guy would take note and be more respectful.
So Nehemiah allowed his face to reflect the sadness of his heart. The king asked him why he was sad and Nehemiah knew that it was “now or never.” He told the king about the burden on his heart and Artaxerxes responded with, “What are you requesting?”
Now was his chance. It wasn’t just a simple request for a leave of absence: he was asking to be made Governor of Jerusalem with authority to rebuild and fortify the defensive walls. He would need letters of commission and a military escort, and he would be gone for several years. (Would he still have a job when he got back? There were certainly people waiting in line to take his place!)
So Nehemiah “prayed to the God of Heaven.” What do you suppose he prayed, in that brief, silent prayer before he made his request of the king?
When you find yourself in one of those delicate situations, those make-or-break moments at work or in a meeting or with friends who need to hear a word from God, take that moment to pray in your heart briefly, silently, with all reverence, trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide you and give you the tact and sensitivity, the very words to express what needs to be said. Lord Jesus, You promised that Your Holy Spirit would come to be my Guide, my Comforter and my Counselor. You said You will never leave me nor forsake me. I know that I’m not worthy of such honor but I believe Your promises. Lead me through this day. Give me the wisdom and insight I need and open my ears to Your voice, to hear and speak as I should, in Jesus’ name. Pastor Dan Giles