Nehemiah 1-2

Read Nehemiah 1-2.

Lately our kids have been practicing the skill of searching for and identifying themes in the Scripture passages that we are studying. This is a skill that required much guidance in the beginning but now they have progressed to short periods of independent analysis of the Scripture. They then have the opportunity to report back and start discussion on the themes they see playing out in the assigned passage. During their first week practicing this skill independently, we happened to be studying the first 6 chapters of Nehemiah. When we regrouped the overwhelming majority of the kids brought the theme of prayer to the table for discussion. We realized that Nehemiah was a man of God who was experiencing many emotions. His heart was broken for his people and his land, he was fearful for the king’s reactions, and he was pressured and threatened by his enemies. However, he didn’t let his God-given emotions rule his actions. He spent a great amount of time in prayer as he sought the will of God. Even in the midst of a conversation, he stopped to pray before answering the king (Nehemiah 2:4-5). We see how he continually stayed in communion with the Lord through prayer. Nehemiah continued to be sensitive to the leading of God and instead of becoming a slave to his strong emotions, he used them for God’s glory. He was obedient even in the midst of sadness, fear, and pressure.

As our kids worked through the theme of prayer here in the beginning of Nehemiah’s account, they began to work out what that type of prayer life looks like in their own lives. How it can be so difficult to not get caught up in our anger and take it out on others, but instead ask for God’s guidance in our frustrating circumstances. The temptation to get caught in the quicksand of stress and sadness, ultimately neglecting our relationship with our Creator, when really that’s when we should be clinging closest. The tendency even in our happiness and success to act out in pride hurting those around us, when ultimately, all our joy and success can be credited to our King. Our kids had some honest conversation about the times we pray or don’t pray. So I challenge you to take the time, in the midst of whatever emotions you may be experiencing, to spend some time in prayer. Seeking the Spirit’s guidance and striving to live in obedience. What greater joy than the opportunity to converse with the God of redemption?

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