In the Old Testament, Nehemiah is a great example of the famous quote “pray like everything depends on God, but also work like everything depends on you.”
In Nehemiah 3, & 4, the people of God are rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. They’re at the halfway point (4:6), and they're being threatened by opposition from the north, south, east, and west.
Being completely surrounded that life-threatening opposition, Nehemiah does two equally important things. He prays to God, and then he posts guards around Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 4:9)
Again, they're at the halfway point and this man of God wants to see this God-honoring task to completion. Nehemiah clearly believes in the power of prayer, as seen throughout the book, but interestingly, he also believes in the power of personal initiative. That's why he posts guards. His thought is, "Since the enemies of God's work are attempting to stop us, we're not going down without a fight." (4:13)
Nehemiah clearly believes in doing what he can to solve his own problem, but not to the exclusion of praying fervently, recognizing that his success depends on God (Neh. 2:20).
If we only pray about our problems, we're not doing all we can and therefore not handling the problem correctly. However, if we only work to fix our own problems, but not pray, we're not stewarding wisely the divine help at our disposal. Both aspects are essential.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you pray about your problems, remember that sometimes God’s answer will be to bless your personal initiative to meet your need.
The above devotion was a point that was made in sermon from Nehemiah 4. If you'd like to hear the full sermon, click the image below to be directed to the Sermon Audio archive.
This devotion was written by Pastor James C. Johnson. These devotionals are being published throughout this pandemic in an effort to further strengthen the faith of our NorthStone church family. Feel free to comment below to offer your feedback about today's devotion.