Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prayer in Times of Crisis

Often, it is the tragedies or the crises of life that move us to prayer. Those times of crises drive us to our knees like nothing else can. We are driven in these times to recognize that our only hope is God, the one who sits enthroned above the heavens as the King of the Universe who is never taken by surprise or caught off guard.

That is something we see in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king in exile when his brother came back to the capital city. Nehemiah questioned his brother about the situation in Judah concerning Jerusalem. Here is the report: “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

The hearing of this devastation drove Nehemiah to prayer. In Nehemiah 1:4-11, we have a summary of what Nehemiah was praying in response to what he heard. There are several elements of his prayer that we can apply to our own prayer lives.

Nehemiah calls on God in praise.
Nehemiah calls on God in intercession.
Nehemiah calls on God in confession.
Nehemiah calls on God in remembrance.
Nehemiah calls on God in petition.

Sometimes a proper assessment and evaluation of our situation is in order. We need someone to be “straight up” with us. All the sugar-coating and the positive spins will not be helpful. It can actually be harmful if we neglect the reality of what we are facing.

Nehemiah did not ignore the reality of the crisis, yet he knew where to turn in the midst of it. And that was turning to the Lord--”the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those love him and keep his commandments.”

What crisis are you facing today? What difficulty are you facing? Where are you turning?

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