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Prayer lesson 1: When you pray acknowledge God.

Rev. Enoch Thompson | October 18, 2023 | Nehemiah 1:1-6a


Then I said: "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, Nehemiah 1:5 (NIV).


In response to the bad news he received, Nehemiah cried, fasted, and prayed. In our reflection yesterday we endorsed the importance of prayer as a response to the challenges that this life brings against us. Throughout the book of Nehemiah, we are going to encounter several instances of prayer by Nehemiah in his task of building, or rather rebuilding the physical, societal, and spiritual infrastructure of Israel. All the prayers of Nehemiah are instructive to us, and we must look forward to chewing upon them. In chapter 1 verses 5-11, we are going to see the immediate prayer that Nehemiah uttered to sum up his period of prayer on the first receiving of the bad news from Jerusalem and learn a few lessons from it.

The first lesson for our prayer life, from Nehemiah’s prayer in this section, is that in prayer we need to tap into our consciousness and knowledge of God. Nehemiah addressed God as "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands.” Who is God, and who is God to you? What have you read, and experienced of God in your personal life journey? These are the moving factors that inspire our faith, embolden our trust, and make us pray with a confident hope that God is, and God is a just rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)

When we think of the things that happen to us and around us and observe our helplessness in the face of some of those situations it makes good sense for us to seek help from a mind that is more intelligent than the most intelligent of humans, and from a hand that is stronger than all else. In the overwhelming floods that seek to undo our stability and to wash us away, we must appeal to the rock that is higher than us, God.

Does this make God a clutch that weaklings create in their imagination and cling to, an opium for the masses? No, and a thousand times NO! The God we talk about, and worship exists and is real. He reveals Himself to those who exercise faith in Him, He hears and answers their prayer. When you stand in prayer, please tell God you believe He is, and that He has a history of doing good.


As you read the Bible believe the record of God’s past mercies to the people of the ancients. Recall how God has shown you His hands in your own journey and trust Him to do what He has done in the past.


Almighty and everlasting God, creator of Heaven and earth, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, covenant-keeping Father of glory, how I worship and exalt your excellent holy Name. You live forever irrespective of kings and kingdoms, and you will have the last word.

I bring before you my own life situation and that of the world around me. Please God have mercy on your lowly human creation and a planet in crisis. Let your Kingdom come, and your holy will be done on earth. Please reveal more and more of yourself to us and help us to pray aright. In Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen.


SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! ____ DAILY word study: O LORD, GOD OF HEAVEN The phrase "O Lord, God of heaven" is translated from the Hebrew as follows: "אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם (Adonai Elohei HaShamayim): "אֲדֹנָי" (Adonai): This is a reverential term for "Lord" or "Master," indicating respect and submission. "אֱלֹהֵי" (Elohei): This means "God of," emphasizing God's divine nature and authority. "הַשָּׁמַיִם" (HaShamayim): This signifies "the heavens" or "the sky," underlining the vastness and transcendence of God.

In scripture, the phrase is used to mean:

  • Recognition of Authority: Addressing God as the "Lord, God of heaven" acknowledges His supreme authority over all creation, emphasizing His transcendence and sovereignty (e.g., Daniel 2:18).

  • Covenant-Keeping God: Nehemiah describes God as the one who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments. This emphasizes the relational aspect of God's nature and His faithfulness to His promises.

From this phrase, we learn about

  1. Reverence and Submission: The use of "Adonai" expresses reverence and submission, recognizing God's lordship over every aspect of life.

  2. Transcendence and Authority: Referring to God as the "God of heaven" highlights His transcendence and authority over the entire cosmos. It prompts reflection on the vastness and greatness of God.

  3. Covenantal Relationship: Nehemiah's acknowledgement of God's covenant-keeping nature invites us to consider our own relationship with God. How do we respond to His love, and are we faithful in keeping His commandments?


How does recognizing God as the "Lord, God of heaven" impact your understanding of His authority, transcendence, and the covenantal relationship He offers?

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