The world of Israel was at the bottom of their experience as captives first of the Babylonians, then the Persians.  Today the Persians are modern Iran and we are again threatened by their fanaticism.  Do we remember what to do about bad news?

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,  That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,  Nehemiah 1:1-4

News reports are not always a source of joy.  But they can be a source of motivation if one remembers our calling and empowerment.  Are we supposed to wring our hands and say” oh dear, there is no leader to save us from the hordes of the world”?  Or are we supposed to remember our position in the great line of defense, as the warriors of prayer?  Nehemiah needs no reminder to assume his position on the firing line.  He sends his signal to the captain of the host, and awaits his orders.

And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:  Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.  We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.  Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:  But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.  Nehemiah 1:5-9

God is still the same God who was acknowledged here by Nehemiah, dependable in all of his promises.  Do we ask him to hear of our plight today?   A report is being sent to the commander, which indicates that our troops have missed their mark and are out of position.  They have placed their battle unit behind enemy lines, and are not able to support their allies back in Jerusalem.  They are surrounded by enemies and cannot perform their mission to defend Israel.  Israel and Judah are both departed from the ways of God and have not had a godly king to guide them away from this disaster.  Nehemiah alone remembers that God has promised to rescue them even from their own mistakes.

Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.  O LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.  Nehemiah 1:10-11

A nation of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ is not at the mercy of the nations that rage.  Nehemiah asks God to acknowledge the power of prayer that God himself instituted for his people.  He claims that others too are in prayer about their sufferings, and they too are standing in intercession with him.  Nehemiah asks God to give mercy to him, and to all who are calling on his name. 

A nation of human government is lost without the support of the nation and army of God.  If the Christians are not prepared to vote by prayer, the human effort is futility.  How or if you voted is inconsequential if you are not prepared to stand in the battle in prayer.  Nehemiah knows that no mortal king can give this deliverance.  He had served in the court of the human king, and has recognized the need for the divine king. 

Today we have both the Old and New Testaments to point to the king of kings.  We are without the excuse of ignorance or the curse of living under the law.  By faith we can have our place in the kingdom of God, and go on to produce good works.  If any good work is required today, it is the work of prayer.  Nehemiah has given us the example to lead a nation back into the battle. 

Do not despair at any news that comes tonight, nor trust that news to be our deliverance.  The trials ahead will be of biblical proportions; appropriate to fulfill the promised end times adventure.  During the days of Nehemiah and Queen Esther the kings of flesh were not in charge of their own affairs.  God moved the players behind the scenes like pieces on a chess board of life.  He will respond to our prayer calls today as he did then.  And as Nehemiah claimed by faith then, you are not alone on the battle line of prayer.