Nehemiah begins with the important news being brought back from Judah of Jerusalem’s charcoaled gates and depression. This causes Nehemiah to go into a state of mourning, fasting, and praying before God.
Days later Nehemiah speaks words of confession and repentance towards God for the sins of his people, his family, and even of himself. It is not until he does this that he even begins to ask God for favor in rebuilding the walls and city of Jerusalem.
The interesting thing is that Nehemiah is nowhere near Jerusalem, he is in exile. Yet, his love and concern for others motivates him to take the call to action.
As Christians we must learn to grieve over the pain and suffering of others and call on the name of the Lord to show us what we need to do in response. One way that I think can be done is through intense prayer and fasting. I want to make it my goal this year to do that intentionally because I desire to seek God’s heart and weep over the hurting of others that he loves and has created in his image.
Dear God, your holiness and love compel us to call upon your name in repentance and a heavy spirit. Forgive our unwillingness to put you and your desires first in our life. Forgive us for not holistically loving our neighbors. Change our hearts by your Holy Spirit and through your word.
We need you to touch our hearts; help us grieve over what hurts you God. Give us a holy unrest to be burdened with the injustices, abuses, and broken lives in our own community as well as around the world. In the name of your Son, Jesus, Amen.