Written by Donna Bowles
Working in an elementary school at this time of the year, one of the highlights of my day is going out for recess. I long for fresh air and sunshine on my head even if it means enduring the cold for half an hour. Recently, a kindergartener I had not had a conversation with before, came up to me jumping rope as I was watching the children playing outside. It was a cloudy day and I said to her, “It’s so cold out here today. I wish the sun would come out.” She responded to me without any hesitation, “I will pray and ask God to move the clouds so the sun can shine.” I told her I really like her idea. She then bounced off to play, not realizing how she had blessed my day.
I have recently been studying the book of Nehemiah. What a wonderful example Nehemiah is of not just wishing, but praying about everything. In Chapter 1:4-11 after receiving bad news, he reminds God of His covenant, asks God to listen to him, confesses his sin, and ends his prayer by asking for success as he goes before the king. In chapter 2:4 when Nehemiah did go to see the king and the king asked him what he wanted scripture says, “Then, I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered…” He prayed first and then spoke. What an example for me to take the time to pray before I speak. In Nehemiah 4:4-5 after God had been mocked by a couple of men, he prays for God’s justice on the men. He did not try to do what God needed to do. In chapter 4 verse 9 Nehemiah tells God in a prayer about the threats that are being planned by the enemies and then he posts a guard because of the threats. Sometimes when I pray, I am also required to act.
Nehemiah was a person who “prayed without ceasing” and because of his ongoing contact with God he had the power and the wisdom that only comes from God. That same wisdom, (James 1:5) and power (Acts 1:8) are available to us, but we have to ask for it as we pray to Him in Jesus’ name.
How much wishing do you do? Are you still wishing on stars and birthday candles, floating milkweed and the wishbone in a turkey, or are you pouring your heart out to God with your requests? Whom do you go to with the bad news? Before you have to speak something difficult do you speak to Him? Do you rely on God’s justice or do you seek revenge when you or someone you love is wronged? When you pray do you know that sometimes God wants you to do something along with the praying?
I would be remiss if I did not tell you that the rest of the afternoon, for all the recesses after mine, the sun was shining beautifully. God had answered her prayer, just as she had asked.
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night…” Nehemiah1:5-7