This week’s “Five on Friday” continues my observations from Nehemiah 1 that I first wrote about on Wednesday.
Here are 5 elements of a godly leader’s prayers…
An Acknowledgement of the One, True God
Nehemiah addresses his prayer to “God of heaven” in verse 5. That phrase was frequently used in Nehemiah’s time by the Jews in conversation with the Persians. It was the Israelites’ way of communicating that the God of Israel was the one and only God. He is Creator and thus has all authority over creation. A godly leader begins his or her prayer with this acknowledgement as an act of humility before the Sovereign God.
An Understanding of God’s Character
In verse 5, Nehemiah describes God as one who keeps his covenant and treats his people with steadfast love. This shows that Nehemiah understands the character of the God to whom he is praying. By speaking of the character of God, Nehemiah is also reminding himself that he is praying to a God who cares for his people and works on behalf of his people; therefore, God listens to the prayers of his people.
A Confession of Sin
Nehemiah makes himself emotionally vulnerable by confessing his sins to God. But since he understands the character of God, Nehemiah feels safe to do so. This confession of sin makes authentic communion with God possible and is an admission of Nehemiah’s need for God.
A Bold Request for the Success of God’s Redemptive Purposes
Nehemiah prays for God to give him success in verse 11, but it’s not for his glory. Nehemiah is most concerned with God’s reputation, the state of God’s people, and the redemptive purposes of God. He asks God for success because he has aligned his actions with the will of God. So when Nehemiah asks for success, there is an integrity of motive. Godly leaders who have integrated their motives, actions, and agendas with the will of God don’t hesitate to ask God for success because they know that their success is God’s success. Their request is not selfish since they are working for the redemption and restoration of God’s people and purposes: “Give success to your servant today…(v. 11).”
A Belief that God Can Bring Redemption & Restoration
Nehemiah’s prayer demonstrates that he believes in God’s ability to make the redemption and restoration of His people a reality. A godly leader’s prayers are rooted in the fundamental belief that God has the power to accomplish his will.
Do your prayers sound like this?