My favorite book in the Old Testament is Nehemiah. This is an incredible story that is packed with wisdom, leadership principles and examples on how to live life and get things done. Nehemiah had a good life, he was comfortable, had a good job, made plenty of money, had influence with his boss and was well respected by many. Things were good, until God revealed to him the situation his home town was in. His home town was Jerusalem, and it was a mess and the people that were trying to rebuild it were under attack and being taken advantage of.
When Nehemiah heard what was going on he was deeply troubled and impacted. He was never the same again. He felt deep compassion for the people and their situation. But he did more than just feel for them, he immediately began fasting and praying for how he could make a difference.
I love that about Nehemiah. He started by seeking God with all his heart. He focused fully on God by fasting and not getting distracted from praying for this situation. He did this for months, before God opened up an opportunity for him to make a difference. What I really love about Nehemiah was that during those months of praying and fasting, he also began to make plans. He thought about what it would take to go and help the people that were in Jerusalem. He put a plan together and began gathering resources and thinking through what it would take.
What I take away from that, is that we need to pray and seek God with all our hearts. We also need to continue to work hard and make plans while we seek God. If we do both of those, God will open up the doors to help make things happen. It may be as simple as giving you favor with your boss, like he did for Nehemiah. When Nehemiah got that chance to go, he had a plan on how to get there.
Has God put a burden on your heart? Are you deeply concerned for a person, a family, a people group, a country, a leader? If you are, then start fasting and praying for them. Also start making plans on how you can make a difference. Maybe it is building a better relationship, maybe it is doing some research, maybe it is giving some money, maybe it is writing a letter, maybe its getting involved in your church. Whatever that burden is, pray and make plans, be ready when God gives you that opening.
If you have not read Nehemiah lately, I suggest you read it. Nehemiah didn’t complain about what was going on around him, he did something about it.