Prayer action. Scripture, reflection and prayer.
Nehemiah 4:7-9 " But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and the gaps were beginning to be closed, they were very angry, and all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night."
Reflection. Nehemiah has led a returning group from Exile back to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the city and it's wall is going well. Some locals, who had held sway, were very angry at what they saw as usurping their power and diminishing their position. They plot and plan confusion and destruction.
Nehemiah gets wind of their plan and does something about it. He calls the people to prayer. But that is not all. He takes action to post a guard and keeps moving forward with the purposes of God.
There is a lesson here and a question. How many times have we faced difficulties and prayed about it and then left it with God, and not then taken action. Yes, of course there are often things beyond us that only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can sort out. (I do wonder whether l have ever used prayer as a shorthand for 'I'm not going to deal with that.') Then we realise later that God had already provided the resources, if only we had 'prayed and set a guard,' so as to speak; that the answer was right there already - just to faithfully and carefully press on with what we knew to be right.
This is the first Sunday in the Methodist New Year in Britain. As we begin this year we face some challenges. It is right we pray lots and lots about these and that we cover our present and future in prayer. Let's also post a few guards and move forwards faithfully with the resources to hand. I believe that Christ Jesus has exciting plans for us.
Prayer. Lord Jesus Christ, we pray to you our God and we put the pickets out for protection. Guard us, Lord. Guide us Lord. Keep us, Lord. And keep us at your work by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.