Yesterday we looked at Nehemiah’s call to action and his prayer when he heard of the state of the walls of Jerusalem. We saw how he responded, with fasting and prayer, and prepared himself to do what was needed. Today we see the result of Nehemiah’s fasting and prayer, how God blessed him, and we will see his first actions upon arriving at the Holy City Read more
As I have been doing my Bible readings each morning, I’ve been in the Book of Ezra. Hearing of the rebuilding of the Temple made me think of the wonderful story of Nehemiah and his plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. While the walls that stand today are not the same ones Nehemiah rebuilt, this event shows God’s faithfulness to those who are faithful to Him. (History tells us that there have been three or four subsequent destructions and rebuildings, culminating in the 1538 AD completion of the current walls by the Ottoman Empire)
This is the first of six-part series on Nehemiah and the Wall.
Mark 11:25-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
In the eleventh chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has just cleansed the temple, calling it a “den of thieves” instead of a “house of prayer for all nations.” After this powerful event, they passed a fig tree that Christ had cursed before entering the temple and it had withered away. They were astonished. So Jesus replies simply, “Have faith in God.” He tells them that faith can move mountains and that we are to pray, believing that we will receive the things we pray for.
Forgive & You Will Be Forgiven
We are called to examine our hearts each day and each time we pray. If there is something holding us back from Him, it will affect our prayer life. 1 John 4:20 says, If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
Human nature makes the Christian fraught with contradictions like this. We bless God on Sunday, but Monday we issue curses to our brothers. We sing praises one day and listen to music about sex and drugs the next. We ask forgiveness from the LORD, against whom we have transgressed far more than any man has every transgressed against us, yet we won’t forgive the man.
For some of us, it’s easier to forgive, while others have a hard time. I am the type to assume someone didn’t mean to do wrong against me or others. It drives my wife mad because it can lead to me being “walked over” when I do that. She, however, is the opposite, especially when the one being wronged is me. That’s when the momma bear comes out. I can only imagine what she’ll be like when we actually have kids. But even with my ability to see the best in people, I still have trouble forgiving some people.
Pray For Your Enemies
“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
A few years ago I was teaching Music and Math at a Private Christian School. There were a lot of problems with forgiveness at the school in both the staff and the students. We did a study on forgiveness. We watched a video about it one day. I remember the speaker talking about “praying for his enemy.” He started with a typical, “okay, Lord, bless this guy,” and then he moved on.
His heart wasn’t in it. But he kept praying. He found eventually that he started actually praying, and his heart was softened. It wasn’t an immediate fix. It was a gradual softening. If we pray for our enemies, how can we continue to hate them?
We must also remember that this is true forgiveness when we are truly not sore or pained by their transgression. Because remember, anything that has ever been done to you was done tenfold to Christ, by you. So if He can forgive you of so much, why can’t you forgive them of so little.
I’m sure during this reading, you’ve had someone on your mind. Someone who has done you wrong. You may think they don’t deserve your forgiveness, or that you can’t forgive them. I want you to take a moment right now and pray for them. Start the prayer with a moment of asking the LORD to soften your heart. Then ask Him to help you. Then pray that your enemy know the LORD, if they don’t, and that the LORD blesses them and draws them to His forgiveness.