First of all, congratulations on finishing your 30 for 30! (Well, after you do it today). I know it will have a positive effect in your life – even in ways you can’t see yet.
But secondly, this is not the end, this is just the beginning. These past thirty days of developing the habit of prayer and the Bible have not been simply to pray consistently for thirty days, but rather to build up the walls of your prayer life so that God can build up every other area of your life.
The purpose of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem wasn’t just to rebuild the walls, but so that the Jews could then begin rebuilding their lives and their nation. Up until this point they were vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. They were so harassed by the enemy that every time they tried to take one step forward the enemy would knock them back two. Ever felt that way?
Because of their inability to stay focused on rebuilding their nation, their relationships weren’t right, injustices prevailed, and sin was rampant. That is why Nehemiah came, to rebuild the protective walls around their city so they could begin rebuilding their lives.
“So, the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16 NKJ
Once you have a consistent prayer and Word life the enemy will get discouraged. This is because he will have a much harder time breaking you down as God is building you up. (Hey, let’s let the devil be the one who is discouraged for a while, huh?)
Once the walls were up, Nehemiah was able to help the people repair their lives. As we read on in this story we see a few key reforms that were able to take place.
First, they were able to come together as a congregation to hear the Word of God preached. This just so happens to be where we are at as a church after the pandemic. How awesome is it to be gathering together again?!? For them, the result was revival. The preached Word turned their hearts back to God again and they began desiring Him, and the things of God, fresh and new. I see the same thing happening with us, don’t you?
Secondly, they repented of their sins. The Word of God did its supernatural work in their hearts and minds. The Bible is not a book written by man, as some say, but rather it is God’s Word which has the unique ability to transform you at the deepest levels of your being.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT
The Word of God does not cut you deep to judge and condemn you but rather to set you free. There may be things deep in your soul that are holding you hostage. They are controlling your behavior and sabotaging your relationships. The Word of God can set you free!
Once the Israelites heard the Word, at first it made them weep as their hearts were exposed, but then they experienced the joy of the Lord!
“Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, ‘Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.’ For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drink and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!’ And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, ‘Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.’ So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.” Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT
Thirdly, they got their relationships right. They were mistreating each other. This may not seem like a big deal to you as it relates to your relationship with God, but it is actually the biggest deal.
The apostle John wrote:
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar… He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers. 1 John 4:20, 21
And Jesus said it is the greatest commandment:
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NLT
And finally, they reestablished special days, holy days, to rest and celebrate God’s goodness in their lives.
Without a consistent life of Word and prayer I find myself more scattered, running from this thing to that, not managing my time as wisely and struggling to make the best decisions. And forget about rest. Not just in my schedule, but in my soul. However, I have found that when my prayer and Word life is intact, I can prioritize and organize my life using God’s wisdom.
How about you?
THINK ABOUT IT
- Have you been thinking that today was the end of the exercise, or the beginning of a lifestyle of starting your day with the Word and prayer? Are you going to continue?
- What kind of a difference do you think it will make in your life if you continue with a daily dose of the Word and prayer?
- Who can you partner with to get into the Word and prayer every day? Is there someone you can ask to be your prayer partner? I have found that I am much more successful in my consistent prayer and Word life if I have an accountability partner. Ask God who that might be and keep going!