“God is so faithful. He says, ‘If you bring me your sin, if you uncover it before me, I will cover it. I will do the very thing that you’re trying to do in your own strength and power. I will cover it in the blood of my Son.’” — Juan Sánchez
In his message at TGC Chicago’s 2022 regional conference, Juan Sánchez uses Nehemiah’s example of prayer to illustrate how we should earnestly seek the Lord. He emphasizes that believers must be people of action and that a crucial first step always involves prayer.
Sánchez highlights how Nehemiah rooted his prayers in God’s character, acknowledged his own sins, recalled God’s promises, and then presented his requests before the throne of grace. Regularly confessing our sins is essential to remaining in good communion with God. May we run to God in prayer, allowing him to cleanse and cover us.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
It is a great pleasure to be with you all in a privilege. I bring you greetings from Highpoint Baptist Church in Austin from our elders and deacons in our members. They have prayed for me, they pray for me, they allow me to come do these things. And so I thank them for that. And I bring you greetings from them. We’re going to be in Nehemiah chapter one in just a moment, I’ll ask you to open there. But first, let’s go to the Lord in prayer. Our Father in heaven, we come before you and we have asked a simple request. And that is teach us to pray very much as your disciples did, Lord Jesus, we have gathered this weekend so that we might learn to pray better, more clearly with greater hope and faith. By the prayer is such a conundrum so many times. How do we who are a sinful people commune with a living God who is holy, we thank you for the gift of your son, through whom we now come into Your presence with boldness to make our requests known and you receive us as you receive your son. And so we come before you this morning, and we asked would you show us your glory in the face of Jesus Christ from the pages of Scripture, by the power of your Holy Spirit, and teach us to pray? In Jesus name. Amen. I enlisted in the Navy when I was 17 years old. And my intention was to gain a commission the United States Navy. My parents couldn’t afford college. We had moved from Puerto Rico when I was eight years old. And I was the oldest of four and they just simply couldn’t afford college. And so this was my way to pay for college. I made it through the the year of school and preparation and I got a scholarship, a navy scholarship to University of Florida. It was there that I began to want to do something to serve in the church, because the Lord had brought me to himself at the age of 17 through student ministry, and so I was serving in a little church outside of Gainesville, Florida. And it was there that the Lord began to ignite in me a desire to serve in vocational ministry about semester three of the University of Florida and the scholarship I decided to resign my scholarship. And I told the friend that led me to Christ. His name is Kenny and, and I said, Kenny, I, I think the Lord is leading me to pursue vocational ministry and I have to have to resign my scholarship. But my concern is that I have to fulfill my enlistment obligation. At that point, I had only done a year, I assumed I would have to do another three years. And so I figured, why not just go ahead and sign up for even more. And Kenny said, this one, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to pray. We’re going to pray that you don’t have to do that for three years of your enlistment contract. We’re gonna pray that the Lord just does that. Being a young Christian, I said, Kenny, you don’t understand this as the United States government. They’re gonna get everything for me that I owe them. And lo and behold, I only had a year left on my original enlistment contract from the beginning date. And that’s all that they made me do just one more year, just as Kenny had prayed. And the Lord taught me a lot about that through Kenny’s prayer. I was skeptical. Kenny was faithful. And so he asked God and the Lord heard Kenny’s prayers. It In Nehemiah chapter one, we are introduced to a man of action. And, like my friend, Kenny, Nehemiah springs into action, and the first action he springs into is prayer in a time of need. In chapter one, verses one through three, we read the words of Nehemiah, the son of Hakka Leia. Now what happened in the month of Kislev, in the 20th, year of the reign of Artaxerxes, is I was in Sousa, the Citadel, that hen and I one of my brothers came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, the remnant there in the province, who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are destroyed by fire. From verse one, the 20th year of Artaxerxes, we we can identify that this is around the year 446 BC 445 BC, which means that if, in 539 BC, King Cyrus gave the edict that the Jews could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. We’re talking almost 100 years has passed since the Edict of Cyrus, and so the Jews have been in Jerusalem now almost a year have been rebuilt the temple trying to rebuild the city itself. And we come to this place where it hasn’t happened. Not only has it not happened, it says that the walls of Jerusalem, the wall, Jerusalem is broken down. Its gates are destroyed by fire. Practically, this meant that Jerusalem was defenseless. The Jews in the city were unable to defend themselves. But theologically, and that’s what we’re concerned here for theologically, it calls into question God’s character. It calls into question God’s faithfulness, to keep his covenant promises that He promised through the prophets, that he would bring Israel back, they would rebuild the temple, they would rebuild the city, and he would place the king from David’s Lineage on the throne, and he would establish his kingdom forever. So 100 years has passed and this has not happened. The Jews have returned, they rebuilt the temple, the city is not restored, there is no king from David’s line. So is God faithful? It’s the question that naturally arises from these three verses. And what is Nehemiah do says in verse four is as soon as I heard these words, I sat down and wept, and mourned for days. He is in mourning, he is grieving for his people. But he’s also grieving for the place of God’s presence, where God promised to be with his people. And so Nehemiah, as we’ll learn to the very last verse of this has a prominent role in the government. But Nehemiah is a man that can spring into action. It’s possible that these came to Nehemiah, these men from Jerusalem came to Nehemiah precisely because of his position to ask him to act on his on their behalf. And he mourns He weeps, He grieves and then he springs into action, but I want you to notice what he does. The first action of Nehemiah after weeping and praying grieving over the condition of the people and the city is he prays, that’s what he does. And this is what I want us to learn from this text. If we know our God We will be a people of action. As Packer says, in knowing God, those who know their God are a people of action. But what I want us to understand and see is that our first action should be to pray. The people who know their God Act, and the first act is an act of prayer. In Nehemiah, we learn in this chapter, how to pray, we’ve been asking, teach us to pray, and the mind models for us how to spring into action in prayer during a time of need. Let me just give you the structure that we’re going to walk through so you can hang with me. In verses four and five, we see that Nehemiah grounds his prayer and God’s character. I’ll come back and say these again, so don’t worry if you don’t catch them all. Secondly, in verses six and seven, we see that Nehemiah confesses his sin, both corporately and individually. In verses eight through 10, we see that Nehemiah reminds god of his covenant promises. And in verse 11, Nehemiah brings his request before God, notice, it’s not till verse 11, that he makes his ask. And in this he teaches us how to pray.
Number one, Nehemiah grounds his prayer in God’s character. Look at verse four again. As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days. And I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. So he mourns over the situation. It is grievous. And what is he done? What does he do? He fasts and he prays, fasting and praying are together throughout the scriptures, fasting, a sense of just humbling ourselves before the Lord seeking the Lord’s presence, seeking the Lord’s guidance, and he is praying. And then what’s fascinating is, he’s not just that the Bible doesn’t just tell us he’s fasting and praying for days. It actually shows us It allows us to enter into His prayer closet and hear how he prays. And in that sense, we begin to learn how to pray, from Nehemiah is prayer. Notice how he addresses God. I was praying before the God of heaven. And then in verse five, it says, and I said, oh, Lord God of heaven, Nehemiah prays to the God who is in heaven. He rules from Unhide. This indicates there are no limits to his rule. He is the sovereign Lord, He rules over all things. Yes, the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are destroyed by fire. But God sits in the heavens, he sits on the throne. He is unmoved. He is unshaken, and everything is at peace before the throne of God. Isn’t this the picture that we see in Revelation chapter four. In Revelation chapter two, and three, we see the world is in chaos. Jews are turning Christians over to the governing authorities. Christians are being persecuted. John is witnessing this in a vision. And in chapter four, what happens John has said, Come up here. It’s as if to say, we don’t want to live by the sight of our circumstances, we must live by faith in the God who is on His throne. And so John is taken up to the throne, and he is shown, while the world is in chaos, God is on His throne. And there is peace. And around the throne, our heavenly beings, worshipping the God who sits on the throne. Nehemiah is praying to this God. There is no God of the Old Testament. And then it got to the New Testament, this is the god Nehemiah is God is our God. And this is the God who sits in the heavens, and is Colin so helpfully reminded us last night, the God who is in heaven, we’re told is our father. So he’s not just sovereign, he is good. And He wants our good and our well being. And so as we think of the Lord of heaven, that we run to in time of need, He is the God who is sovereign. He rules over all things, but he is the God who is good, and he is loving toward his people, and he is all wise in his plans for his people. This is the God to whom you my praise. But notice our Heavenly Father is the God who makes and keeps covenant Nehemiah continues, and I said, Oh Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love. That word that we know means covenant faithfulness, with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Nehemiah understands the history of Israel. Nehemiah understands that God with a strong and mighty hand delivered Israel out of Egyptian slavery, brought them to himself on Mount Sinai, where we see an Exodus chapter 19, God tells them I will be your people you will be my god, I own all the nations in the world, you will be my special treasure, you will be to me a a kingdom of priests. And then he gives him a covenant and chapters 20 to 24 of Exodus, saying, This is what it means to be my people. I will be your God, you will be my people. And you will be different from all the nations of the world you will be different. In your worship, you will have only one God, you will be different in your government, I will be your king, you will be different in your diet, I will separate you even in the way you eat from the nations of the world, you will be different in your dress, you will be different and your sexual ethic. One man one woman for life and a marital covenant, you will be distinct from the nations and through you I will show the world that I am the God of heaven. There was a problem though. Israel did not keep the covenant. And this is the problem isn’t even in, even in this verse. Me my praise the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments. And we know what the problem is. In fact, Nehemiah is in Sousa precisely because Israel failed to keep the covenant. Sure in 513 IBC. Some made it back to Jerusalem. Some stayed like Esther and Mordecai. But the the issue here is they’re not in the land. They’re dispersed precisely because Israel failed to keep the covenant. Pot God is a faithful God. Do you remember the golden calf incident? Where I mean almost immediately after God rescued them out of Egyptian slavery. Moses goes to be with God. And Aaron is pressured into making a golden calf representing this as the God who led you out of slavery in Egypt. It is a head scratching moment, isn’t it? When Moses comes down here and says, Well, we just put the golden fire in this thing came out. And at that point, God says, okay, Moses, I’m gonna just let you go to the land, but I’m not gonna go with you. And Moses intercedes, and he says, Colorado, we don’t want to go if you don’t go with us. That was the promise wasn’t I will be your God and you will be my people. I will dwell in your mitts. In Exodus 34, there’s this beautiful passage of scripture that’s echoed throughout the rest of Scripture. And it’s God preaching. Do you know what God preaches? When he preaches? He preaches himself. It says in Exodus 34. verses four through six, the Lord passed before him Moses and proclaimed, what does God preached when he preaches the Lord the Lord. He preaches himself, a god merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love, same word, as we see in the in my word for 1000s, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and their children’s children to the third and the fourth generations? Do you know what Nehemiah is doing here? He knows this God. He knows this is his God. And he knows his people who fail God. He knows his people have not kept covenant, but he grounds his prayer in God’s character. He grounds his prayer on the fact that God is God. He is merciful. He is gracious, he is slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love, He forgives, and he keeps forgiving generation after generation after generation, those who come to Him and confess their sin and turn away from their sin, but he will by no means clear those who continue in rebellion, generation after generation, he will never clear the guilty Nehemiah knows this God, and he grounds his prayer in the character of this God, He prayed to the God of heaven, knowing that this God is always faithful and He keeps the covenant He has made. Why is this important for us? To learn how to pray this way? Why is it important that we understand that we’re to ground our prayers in God’s character? You see, because we tend to be driven by the sight of our circumstances. We tend to evaluate how good things are by our experiences and when we lift our eyes from Are circumstances to the God of Heaven, to the God who is faithful. We remember no matter what we’re facing, God is faithful. When we remember God is faithful, we can come to him in confidence. God has not liked us, he doesn’t change his mind. He keeps the promises he has made the God who rules from Heaven is able to do all he has said he will do, he is able to do all he has set out to do. Satan seeks to deceive us. He wants us to doubt our God. He wants us to doubt his word. He wants us to be overwhelmed with guilt and shame getting us to believe that this God will not receive us.
When we confess our sins, and when we ask for forgiveness, so he seeks to drive us farther and farther away from God. Even in our times of crises, and in our times of need. Satan is seeking to separate us he’s seeking to devour us. But when we understand who our God is, in the midst of crisis, in our moment of greatest need, we have to begin by addressing the God who sits on his throne, who is unmoved. Who is unshaken, who is in total control, who is our Father in heaven, who loves us and what’s best for us and understand he is faithful. We are a forgetful people. And we need to constantly remind ourselves, our God is faithful when your world is falling apart. You will be you’ll be tempted to question God’s sovereignty. But are you really in control? You will be tempted to doubt God’s goodness, God, how can you really be good if you allow this to happen to my life, you will be tempted to doubt God’s wisdom, God Do you really know what you’re doing? But when you ground your prayers in the God, who sits in the heavens, that God who is faithful in God’s character, you can run to Him and competence no matter what you face. No matter how out of control your life seems, that God who sits in the heavens is faithful. He is working out his sovereign will, through circumstances that we do not even see in 10s of 1000s of ways he is at work in our lives, to bring about his glory and our good to bring us to himself. matter how little sense your life seems to make, the God who sits on the throne is faithful, He knows everything. There’s nothing hidden to him, and he is directing all things, no matter how unbearable your life becomes. The God who sits in the heavens is faithful. He is sustaining your life moment by moment and breath by breath. No matter how worthless you believe yourself to be. The God who sits in the heavens is faithful. And he gave us his son. If he has not withheld His son from us, will he withhold anything that we need for life and godliness. No matter what sins you have committed, the God who sits in the heavens is faithful. He is slow to anger. He is full of grace and mercy. He’s abounding in steadfast love, and he forgives and forgives, and forgives and forgives him for gifts. So when your world is falling apart, grieve and weep and mourn. But run to God in prayer. Because our God is faithful. Admittedly, though, we’re being honest here among friends. Sometimes it seems like God does not hear us. Sometimes it feels like God is silent. It may be in those times God is saying Not yet. Wait, maybe in those times where God appears silent he is working in 1000s of unseen ways to answer your prayer. But just maybe when God seems silent, it is because of our sin. Just as he shared last night it’s possible that he does not hear us because we’re in rebellion. You see sin affects our fellowship with God such as that it hinders our prayers. First Peter three, seven, right. Husbands are told to get it get it right. Our prayers You’re hindered when we neglect our wives. Well, we don’t live with our wives in an understanding way. So I’m 66 verses 16 to 20. point this out. Now, let me just be clear sin does not affect our union with God. But it does affect our communion with God. Think of it in this way. It’s like marriage, right? When we have marital conflict, it doesn’t affect our marriage. But it does harm our fellowship. My wife and I have a wonderful relationship. We’ve been married over 32 years. And we know each other pretty well, such that we don’t, we don’t even have to use words to communicate. And on occasion in the neighborhood that I live, salespeople will come by, and a salesperson came by trying to sell us a security system. And we’ve lived there almost 17 years. My wife is a wonderful woman. But when you look up the definition of frugal in the dictionary, her picture is right there. And she has this knack for understanding how things, how expensive things are. And when she saw the sales representative talking to me trying to sell me an alarm system. She came in through the back door, were at the kitchen table. And she gave me that look. Man, you know the look, don’t you who those of you are married. She gave me that look. And they see when like this?
And of course, what does that do to me? I’m a sinful man. So I bought up and I signed the contract. Oh, yes. You know where this is going. She did not speak to me for days. I had to confess my sin. I’d have asked for forgiveness. I had to call them back to rip out the alarm system. Just to make things right with my wife. And it was all worth it. At no point did Janine say that’s my wife’s name. Did she say Okay, I’m getting a divorce. At no point did she say okay, you’re dead to me. But clearly our fellowship was harmed wasn’t it? Communication was disrupted. Beloved, it’s like that with us and God. God is a God who keeps covenant He is always faithful. He will never say You’re dead to me. He will never say I want to divorce. He’s already done that once and he’s restored that marriage. But our sin disrupts our fellowship with God, our communion with God. And God does not answer our prayers when we’re in sin and rebellion to him. And Nehemiah understands that he understands that the present condition of Israel is a result of Israel’s sin. And He seems to understand that hint that sin hinders prayer. So what does he do? Secondly, we see in verses six through seven, Nehemiah confesses his sin corporately and individually, Nehemiah confesses his sin. Note how Nehemiah confex can connect confession of sin with his plea for God to hear his prayer in verse six. Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel, your servants. So he wants God to have open ears and open eyes to see and to hear as he is praying day and night. But notice how he is praying, confessing can confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Nehemiah understands that Israel has broken the covenant. He understands that they’re very deserving of what they’re getting. That because of their rebellion, God has only done what he promised to do when he established the covenant in Exodus. And when he reestablished the covenant in Deuteronomy. If you keep my word and be faithful, I will be your guide you will be my people. But if you do not keep this word, I will bring four nations and they will take you away and I will remove you from this land. Nehemiah understands this covenant making covenant keeping God and he understands that the reason they’re in the situation they’re in is because of their sin. So he confesses this sin corporately, but notice how he doesn’t exclude himself from this sin. Confessing the sins of the people of Israel which we have sinned against you, even I and my father’s house have sin. This is the sin of the people the way that God led the nation of Israel was through representative leaders, kings, prophets and priests, God gave them the spirit it was these priests, prophets and kings as they went, so went the nation. And so Nehemiah takes responsibility for the sin of the people. He says in verse seven, we have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statues and the rules that you commanded Your servant Moses, he understands. Remember, he said that earlier? God is the covenant keeping God to those who keep His commandments. And he understands that Israel has not kept the commandments, that they have not kept the covenant. And the sad reality as we read the scriptures is that Israel never was able to keep the covenant. Israel failed to keep the covenant. But you know what God did? This is This is amazing. God gave Israel a covenant. He said, I will be your guide, you will be my people keep My commandments. They couldn’t. They couldn’t remember when we have five daughters and, and when when one of our daughters was about three years old, and she was in trouble, and she’s the one that got in the most trouble of all the girls. And I just finally said, What, what’s going on? Why can’t you listen? Why can’t you obey? She said, Daddy, I can’t help it. And at that point, she was a better theologian than I was. me she was speaking ever sinful condition. She was born to pray the children, a child deserving God’s wrath, she needed a new heart. And that’s exactly what God promised. God promise. Okay, we’re gonna, we’re gonna restore you. But under this new covenant, I’m going to give you a new heart. And I’m going to give you my spirit. And I’m going to forgive your sin in a once for all kinds of way. And you know what God did? The covenant that Israel could not keep God Himself sent his son and the second person of the Godhead, took on our humanity, in order to obey and keep the covenant Israel failed to keep. And Jesus, taking on our humanity, grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man, and he obeyed perfectly. He obeyed the law to its fulfillment. But not only that, he obeyed the law to his fulfillment. Jesus took upon himself the curses of the covenant for disobedience, such that the apostle Paul connects it this way, and Galatians 313 and 14, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us for this written curse. It is everyone who hanged on a tree, so that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Such is the steadfast love of God, the very covenant that his people cannot keep. He sends His Son from heaven, to take on our humanity to keep and to fulfill and to establish a new covenant. So all God’s people will have a new heart. All God’s people will have God’s Spirit empowered to obey and keep the covenant, all God’s people will be forgiven in a once for all sacrifice. And Jesus establishes this New Covenant by his blood and one of the great promises of this new covenant is forgiveness of sin. Do you find that God has turned his ear away from you? Maybe God is just saying Not yet. Wait. Maybe God is at work in 1000s of unseen ways to answer your prayer. Or maybe just maybe. We need to confess our sins, just like Nehemiah confess his sins. What sins do you need to confess? What is affecting your communion with God in Christ? What is hindering your prayers? To God? You see, we are proud people, aren’t we? We don’t want to uncover our sin. Our inclination is to cover our sin. Last night, I was here throughout the service and about 930 I just was so exhausted. I just wanted to go home. Josh was gonna give us a ride home. And I didn’t know how long we were going to keep going. So I just I ordered a lift. I didn’t tell Chris who’s traveling with me. And so I just, I just went, went to the hotel, and I just realized, did I sin against Chris that I sinned against? Josh? I, maybe I did, maybe I did it. But I was rude. I just got up last night while we were singing, and I just left because I was tired. And so this morning, I just texted Chris and I said, Chris, please, please forgive me. I should have communicated with you what I was doing. I just kind of left it until anyone asked Josh to forgive me who might have been calling John for two days. Josh to forgive me. Because while I was waiting on my lift, Josh and Chris came say, hey, you know, we’re ready to take you in the liquid system and it away. But you know what the Lord is teaching me in my old age with five daughters and six grandchildren. This this confession repentance is a continual thing, isn’t it? I mean, we have to be so cognizant of the things that affect our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even possible misunderstandings that we need to be quick to uncover our sin. We need to be quick to uncover anything that might hinder fellowship with brothers and sisters, and anything that we think might hinder our fellowship with living God. One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 32.
In Psalm 32, David talks about that when he kept his sin hidden. It was like God’s hand was heavy upon him. It was like the fever heat of summer. Now in Texas, we know what that verse means the fever heat of summer. And David talks about not being able to eat not being able to sleep until he uncovered his sin. And we’re so proud that we don’t want anyone to know our sin. And we’re so self reliant that we think we can deal with our own sin. But God is so faithful, that he says, if you bring me your sin, if you uncover it before me, I will cover it. I will do the very thing that you’re trying to do in your own strength and power. I will cover it in the blood of my son isn’t great, isn’t God faithful? Isn’t God good? Is a god wise. And so as we come to Him in prayer, we come to the God who is faithful, and we confess our sins. This is what Nehemiah understands. He is in a condition he’s in because of Israel’s sinfulness. And so he uncovered Israel sin, and He uncovered his part in Israel sins, and he comes before God, and having confessed his sin. Nehemiah, then thirdly, reminds god of his covenant promises. This is a very helpful way to learn how to pray in verses eight through 10. Nehemiah reminds god of his covenant promises. Listen to how he says it. Remember the word that you commanded Your servant Moses? Isn’t that fascinating? I mean, God is sovereign. He is omniscient. He knows everything. And here’s Nehemiah say, Hey, God, remember, remember what you said to your servant Moses. Remember your word. This has been a very helpful way for me to learn how to pray. Remember the word that you commanded Your servant Moses saying, if you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. This is the part of the curses of disobeying the covenant. But if you return to Me and keep My commandments, and do them, though, your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven. From there, I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen to make my name dwell their day, they are Your servants and your people whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand, God, Nehemiah reminds god of God’s own word, the curse of the Covenant, to scatter the people in their disobedience, but the promise in the covenant, that if they repent if they turn from their sins, and turn back to God, that God would forgive them, that he would bring them back to the place of his presence. This is a wonderful lesson in prayer. He says, not that God is forgetful. God is not forgetful. Nehemiah is just calling on God, to be God. He’s calling on God to be the God he promised to be. This is a very helpful prayer lesson for us. And God who said his son, to establish this New Covenant, this is precisely what he is doing. He is gathering his people from the uttermost parts, who are scattered we are now exile strangers in a foreign land and he is gathering old people to him. Self and ultimately he will bring us to the place of his presence. He is gathering his elect from the world and leading to leading us to Himself through Christ through the preaching of this gospel, so that all who trust in Jesus are gathered to God and Jesus heavenly assembly. You see, under the New Covenant worship is no longer about a geographic location. Jesus said that in John chapter four, but about a person, true worship happens in Jesus Christ. But until then we can come into God’s presence with confidence in the name of the sun, this beloved son who fulfilled this covenant, now we come into the presence of God in His name, and we can remind God of his covenant promises a NEW HEART forgiveness of sin, his spirit of relationship with Him. This is a helpful way to pray to know the Scriptures and just ask God to be God, to ask God to do what he said he would do. Do you have children who are unbelieving? Ask God to be God, the God who saves? Do you have sin, that you need to deal with? As God to be God? The God who forgives? Are you afraid? Are you sending off your children’s suffering? Ask God to be God, the God who protects? Do you have a specific need in your life? Ask God to be God the God who provides? Do you have a condition or a medical need? Ask God to be God? The God who heals? What is it that you need God to be and to do for you? Look at the scriptures. Who does God promised to be asked God to be God for you. Our youngest daughter is 19. And she has juvenile arthritis. She has Fibromyalgia she has gastroparesis. And we have prayed with her for God to heal her. We’ve said God be God to her and heal her body. She’s 19 years old, she just lives in constant pain. And one of the things that we realize is, we already know the answer. The answer is yes, of course, I will heal her. So it’s not a question of whether or not God will be faithful to heal. The question is when God will heal, right. We’re praying that God would allow her to have a foretaste of what she awaits and the eternal kingdom and the here and now. But if not, and she understand is, one day God will heal her. He will either take her home, to be with Him in spirit until the resurrection, or he will return and give her a resurrection body that will have no more juvenile arthritis, no more fibromyalgia, no more gastro precice God is God and He is faithful. And in Jesus name. We can make bold requests before God because He is the God who keeps covenant. This is a very helpful way to pray. But you have to know your scriptures to be able to pray this way. As you read the scriptures in as you come across text, just ask God to be God. God in this situation, we just asked you to be God, we asked you to be faithful to your promises, and we know that you are. And this is what Nehemiah does. He reminds god of the promises he made to Moses. He reminds God that He will gather them if they repent, he is confessing their sins before him. He reminds god of his past grace, they are Your servants and your people whom you ever dream, by your great power and by your strong hand. And he just basically saying God that you be that God. But fourthly, and finally, Nehemiah brings his request to the God of heaven. After all that Nehemiah finally brings the ask. In verse 11. It’s a specific request. He says, oh, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who delight to fill your name and give success to your servant today and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the cup bearer to the key. We learn in chapter two, the first eight verses there, that what Nehemiah was asking is that when he was in the presence of the king, to let him go back to Jerusalem, and to aid in the rebuilding of the city, it was a very simple ask. It was a very specific If ik requests because our God is faithful. Nehemiah could come to Him and ask Him for a simple prayer request, but a bold prayer request. Grant me mercy in the sight of this man. You see, because our God is faithful, we can come to him in the name of the sun and we can ask we can make our requests known, is how Paul says in Philippians, four, five and seven through seven, the Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Friends, what is making you anxious? Bring your requests to the God of heaven.
What do you need? Bring your requests to the God of heaven. What concerns you bring your requests to the God of heaven. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession but for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. But one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw nearer to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. If you know your God, you will be a person of action. But the first action Nehemiah reminds us to take is to pray, weep and grieve and mourn. But pray go to the Lord in prayer ground your prayers and the character of God. He is the God who rules from heaven, and he is faithful he makes and keeps covenant. Confess your sins so that your prayers may not be hindered. And remind God of his promises and ask him to be God for you. Ask him to be true to his word. And then bring your request before him specific requests. Tell him what you need. Our God is faithful, and he hears the prayers of His people. Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we come before you the God of heaven. The God who makes in keeps covenant, the God who is full of mercy and grace, the God who is slow to anger abounding in steadfast love the God who forgives iniquity, generation after generation after generation, but the God who will by no means clear the guilty, You are God there is no other you are on your throne. And even when the world around us feels like it’s crumbling, and the mountains are falling into the sea, you are on your throne. And there is peace in your presence. And so Father, when our world is crumbling out from underneath our feet, remind us to run to you to confess our sin, to remember your promises and to ask to make our requests known. Father, would you bless your people here? Would you encourage them in prayer? Would you encourage them with a glorious vision of everything that you are for us in your son Jesus Christ? And would you teach us to pray in Jesus name? Amen.
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Juan Sánchez (MDiv, ThM, PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and a Council member of The Gospel Coalition and Coalicion por el Evangelio. He is the author of Seven Dangers Facing Your Church. He and his wife, Jeanine, have five children.