A Study of Nehemiah: A Life of Prayer
Welcome to 2018: The Year of Prayer. Our focus this year will be on God’s gift of Daily Prayer. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we will strengthen the prayer lives of our leaders and equip our parishes to be places that are grounded in prayer. Prayer is a foundational spiritual practice and a cornerstone to building a life of Christian discipleship. Prayer has the power to transform people and communities.
A long time ago, Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, Book of Nehemiah, we read that before Nehemiah lays even one stone; Nehemiah prays. He prays for strength. He prays for protection. He prays for forgiveness. Nehemiah takes everything to the Lord in prayer. One of my “go to” Bible verses related to prayer is Philippians 4:6, and this will serve as our Year of Prayer memory verse. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). This powerful Bible verse captures God’s desire for us to pray.
What follows is a 6-session Bible study on the Book of Nehemiah. I want to encourage you to open your Bible, gather with a group of friends, get outside the 4 walls of the congregation, and learn what God desires to teach you. But, be careful. Be very, very careful, because God’s Word has the power to transform people and communities from who we are into the people and communities that God longs for us to be. During the time of Nehemiah, the city of Jerusalem experienced a similar transformation. At the dedication of the rebuilt city wall, we read, “They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away” (Nehemiah 12:43). May we also experience the great joy of God, the gracious love of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and transform our lives and communities. Prayer and God’s Word has that power.
Let us pray: God of justice and joy, as we begin this study of the Book of Nehemiah may we be inspired by your love and transformed by your will to be built into the people you long for us to be. Lead us to grow strong in our daily prayer and in our love for you. This we pray in the blessed and holy name of Jesus. Amen
Bishop Daniel G. Beaudoin
January 6, 2018
The Epiphany of Our Lord