Do you struggle with discerning when to pray and when to act? Nehemiah's prayer for God's will led to his courage to act in bold ways. Scriptures for strength and how to know God is speaking, Words of encouragement for Christian living and faith quotes inside

Praying and acting in confidence: a lesson from Nehemiah

How can we grow in conviction to act when God opens doors? Nehemiah’s prayer for God’s will gave me insight into growing courage in my own prayer life. Maybe you need it as well!

I got off the phone with her and went to find my journal.

Sure enough, there it was on those ecru pages: a description of what I thought God was saying to me after a 6-week Bible study. A prayer asking Him to weigh my motives, direct my steps, and grant me wisdom followed those observations.

I continued to pray and two months later, that phone call came. The woman on the other end outlined what she was asking me to consider and then ended with, “But I know you’ll want to pray about it first.”

I didn’t need to wait and pray. I had already prayed. This was the answer.

It would have been so much easier to play the “I’ll pray about it and get back to you” card. But asking for a little more time would have been a step of stalling, not a deed of discernment.

And so, my “yes” was ushered in on the many prayers that had preceded that day.

{For more on this process I described about seeking God’s will, see “Discerning God’s Will: a 7-step process“}

Do you struggle with discerning when to pray and when to act? Nehemiah's prayer for God's will led to his courage to act in bold ways. Scriptures for strength and how to know God is speaking, Words of encouragement for Christian living and faith quotes inside

How Nehemiah’s prayer for God’s will created confidence to act

The model for my confidence in the above situation is Nehemiah. Consider what Scripture records about how Nehemiah launched out on his assignment to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem:

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”
With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied,
“If it please the king …
send me to Judah to rebuild the city
where my ancestors are buried.”

Nehemiah 2:4-5 (NLT)

This (chap. 2) conversation between Nehemiah and King Artaxerxes took place in the spring.

Chapter one records Nehemiah’s prayer the previous autumn:

“O Lord, please hear my prayer! …
grant me success today
by making the king favorable to me …”

Nehemiah 1:11 (NLT)

And thus, when the king asked, “How can I help you?” Nehemiah saw it as the answer to his plea for God’s will and responded in faith.

Ceaseless prayer had created operational courage in his life.

Nehemiah is one of my favorite Bible heroes to study for this reason. For years, I contemplated how I could be more like him: knowing when to pray and discerning when to act.

Maybe you can relate? If so, travel back to the Scripture above in chapter 2.
In the middle, we find this: “With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied …”

Nehemiah “prayed it forward” as he acted
on what had already been percolating in his prayers.

Your invitation to Pray it Forward

Applying this in my own life increased my confidence and helped me become the woman in that story who recognized God’s answer to prayers already prayed.

And through this, I’ve learned something else: in the going, God shows me more about how I should go.

If you have prayed, established the plumb line for your thoughts as God’s Word, and been honest before the Lord about your motives, then I encourage you to pray it forward as you act or answer.

After all, God knows our hearts. He knows we want to serve Him. And He is fully capable of redirecting our steps of faith if they are in the wrong direction.

Revive your Prayer Life!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love my book on prayer.
In fact, I expanded on the message in this post in the opening chapter.

Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life

Pray it Forward - - Revival by Christi Gee

Read a chapter for FREE:
The free chapter will be sent directly to your inbox. Your email is safe with me.
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5 responses to “Praying and acting in confidence: a lesson from Nehemiah”

  1. Sharon Wells Avatar
    Sharon Wells

    I raised 3 teenagers on Nehemiah’s model of praying before speaking. The longer they talked the more I could pray for my words to fit the moment. I love when you share what you see in Nehemiah. But in case I’ve never told you, that story has been working in your life for a long, long time.

  2. Ruthie Gray Avatar

    I love Nehemiah too, just read it a few weeks ago. I noticed too, how he sent up a quick one to the Lord, but knew that this was his answer.
    And this: And He is fully capable of redirecting our steps of faith if they are in the wrong direction.
    I talked to Taryn about this just yesterday. She and her little family are still wondering the direction of things and contemplating a possible quick decision. We talked it over and those same thoughts were ruminating in the back of my mind. Sometimes, we just go ahead and act, because we know we are in the will of God. He will protect us and stop us if it’s not right.
    Do you know why I read every single post you ever write? Because of what it says up there above the comment box. “You have something to say worth saying”!
    I love every bit of it. Why would you ever question yourself.
    But those graphics.
    Anyhoo. Enjoy your weekend and that hubs. ;)

    1. Christi Avatar

      Like I told you in the text … Your pom poms are in the mail. I don’t deserve a cheerleader like you, but I’ll continue to tell God “thank you” for sending me you!

    2. Rachel Avatar

      I am looking for hope. I have a relationship with Jesus that is new and unfolding. My heart seeks to know him more but confused by so many different ways people say a person to be saved. Is Water Baptism something that happens AFTER I have been saved or something that I need to do to be saved? I’m lost on all this.Thank you for helping me.

      1. Christi Avatar

        What a beautiful thing to begin a new relationship with Jesus. It’s the most important one you’ll ever have.

        The short answer to your question is this: We are saved by grace through faith, not of anything we do ourselves.

        I’ve written a little more about this and included some links on this page:

        I hope it is helpful.
        Please feel free to use the message feature on the Facebook page to send me a private message if you’d like to talk more.

        Blessings on your new journey!

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