How many times should we pray about something? Paul says he prayed 3 times about his “thorn in the flesh”! (2 Cor 12:7-8). Jesus prayed 3 times in Gethsemane.
Just three times, and then they stopped!
BUT Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray and not to faint!”
So, when do we stop praying, and when do we do something ourselves?
Can faith become an excuse for a lack of prayer? OR can prayer become an excuse for a lack of faith?
There’s a really interesting Bible verse: “We prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” Nehemiah 4:9.
So, one thing is always clear: we should pray! “We prayed to our God!”
Nehemiah had received news from Jerusalem, and it wasn’t good news. The city wall was destroyed! When he heard the bad news, it broke his heart.
But why should he care? – He lived far away – He had a good job – But his heart was stirred for the work of the Lord.
Heart-broken, Nehemiah mourned and wept for several days, and fasted and prayed.
But this verse also makes it clear that after we have prayed to the Lord, we should do all we can!
Nehemiah prayed to the Lord and THEN he spoke to the king! Nehemiah 2:4-5 – He could have been sentenced to death right there and then!
Remember Queen Esther? When she approached the king, she was in great danger! But she was clear in her feelings: “If I die, I die!” she said!
He prayed to the Lord and travelled more than 1000 miles! He could have said: “Well, I’ve prayed now – so I’ll leave it at that!”
Now Nehemiah had reached Jerusalem, and the walls were being rebuilt. And this is a recurring theme: Pray to the Lord, and do all you can.
He prayed to the Lord, and armed the people!
They prayed to the Lord, and wore a sword!
They prayed to the Lord, and set up an alarm!
People of prayer, armed with swords and spears!
They prayed to the Lord, and got ready to fight for their lives! Nehemiah told the people: “Remember the Lord and fight for your life!
Now here is an intriguing thing: When Nehemiah approached the king with his request to return to Jerusalem to help repair the city walls, in brackets there is a simple statement: “the queen was sitting by the king!” I had never noticed that clause before today! But it grabbed my attention. Why was this even mentioned? Why is it important at all that the queen (or queen mother) was sitting by the king?
And then I saw it! Was this “queen” none other than Esther herself?
And so I emailed my son, who was on the other side of Europe (he’s the doctor!) – and here is his reply: “Dad, I think you are right! It’s very likely that it was Esther herself, so do many Jewish scholars. Quite a story, isn’t it? Taken as a young girl, added to a harem, saves her people from Haman, then likely she was influential in re-establishing a Jewish presence in Zion.”
You know: God’s got everything in control! And that means your problems too!