For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, "They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9, NASV
The Old Testament preacher, Nehemiah prayed the prayer, “Lord, strengthen my hands” as he faced ridicule, enemy opposition, discouragement and fear. Nehemiah was called by God to lead the people of Israel in rebuilding the wall surrounding the remnants of their plundered city after Babylonian captivity. The task was daunting and appeared almost impossible.
Nehemiah had to use “rubble,” broken, burned, crumbling stones to rebuild the city walls. In ancient times, city walls were used to keep enemies out and the city secure. He didn’t have a cheering section. He didn’t have a massive army of confident, well-trained, well nourished men. There was nothing happening around him that would reassure him that his efforts were not in vain. What Nehemiah did have was faith and prayer. So he prayed, simply, “Lord, strengthen my hands.”
In the book, Let’s All Pray Together, author, William J. Krulza shares these profound words of encouragement for those who are battling discouragement, seeking to rebuild with only rubble for resources:
Nehemiah learned somewhere that prayer and practice make good companions. Work and Pray. Pray and Work. Talk to God while working with people and leave the results to God. He heard the attacks of the enemy but prayed for strength to continue working.
Sometimes it feels like we have little or nothing to work with. Those around are long on criticism and short on encouragement. The few that are working with you, at times are half hearted at best. You are placed in a position of being “builder in chief, encourager in chief, defender in chief and ignorer in chief!” At times it feels like you are left to rebuild city walls using rubble!
When these feelings hit, take a page out of Nehemiah’s book – work and pray, pray and work. Talk to God while working with people and leave the results to God! Pray, “Lord, strengthen my hands!” Remain faithful. Understand that you have no control over how individuals behave or respond. Follow your heavenly instructions. Keep on working. Keep on praying. Keep on doing what is right. Keep on building. Keep on praising. Pray for the people you have to work with and leave the results to God! God will take your rubble and use it to build great things in His name!
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Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris