Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’ “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
Dear God, I’ve read verses 2-4 countless times, but I decided to read his prayer today and focus on that. I had a little phrase hit my mind (done to the tune of “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton): “Repentance! Can you imagine? Repentance!”
I never noticed before that Nehemiah starts with repentance. Repentance. What an amazing thing you offer us. Repentance.
Knowing that I am certainly no better than Nehemiah, that is probably where my prayer should start this morning. Repentance.
Father, I have truly felt a spirit of pride and ungratefulness to you sneak into my spirit lately. I am so sorry. And there is so much to thank you for. I thank you for what you have provided at work. All of the good things there are of you, not of me. If I played a role, it is that I prayed and you heard my prayer. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am sorry for how I have judged people and exhibited or held anger towards them. I am sorry for being unmerciful.
I am sorry for being selfish with my resources. I am sorry for not caring about the actual struggles of others more than I do, and for not being more charitable. I am sorry for all of the guard rails I put around my life. Show me how to be more appropriately generous.
I am sorry for not praying harder for those for whom I care. The truth is, I expect you to work harder than I am willing to work. I am sorry. For privacy’s sake, I will pray for them separate from this journal, but, oh, Lord, I am sorry.
I am sorry for lying to protect myself. I am sorry for coveting. I am sorry for lusting (commuting adultery). I am sorry for having idols before you. I am sorry for hating (murdering). I have broken every commandment in word, thought, and deed, through what I have done and what I have failed to do. I have not pursued you with all my mind, soul, and strength. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am so sorry.
Father, please forgive me. Jesus, please intercede for me. Thank you for what you did on the cross and through the resurrection of the tomb. Thank you for what you continue to do today. Holy Spirit, teach me. I would ask that you teach me gently, but I have not pride and no high ground. I yield to whatever means you need to use to move me closer to being in complete worship of my Father, the Son, and you, the Holy Spirit. For you glory, for your glory, for your glory.
In Jesus’s name I pray,