Nehemiah 2 – Servant Leadership and Prayer



The critical moment had arrived. How much hangs upon the next sentence—not the continuance of the royal favour only, but perhaps the very life of the speaker, and, what is of far more value to a patriot, the future destiny of his people! Nehemiah’s perception of its intense importance is apparent in the brief statement which he here inserts in his narrative: “So I prayed to the God of heaven.” The man who can thus find God in a moment must be in the habit of frequently resorting to the Divine Presence; like the patriarchs, he must be walking with God. The brief and sudden prayer reaches heaven as an arrow suddenly shot from the bow; but it goes right home, because he who lets it off in his surprise is a good marksman, well practised. This ready prayer only springs to the lips of a man who lives in a daily habit of praying. We must associate the two kinds of prayer in order to account for that which is now before us. The deliberate exercises of adoration, confession, and petition prepare for the one sudden emission. There we see the deep river which supplies the sea of devotion from which the momentary prayer is cast up as the spray of a wave. Therefore it was in a great measure on account of his deliberate and unwearying daily prayers that Nehemiah was prepared with his quick cry to God in the crisis of need.


Walter Adeney


When asked the secret to his success, restaurateur and chef Andre Soltner of the famed Lutece in New York replied, “I cook from my heart, with love. It must be the same with service. The waiter must serve with love. Otherwise the food is nothing…. Many times, I leave my kitchen and go to the tables to take orders myself. It starts right then and there . . . there is nothing mysterious about Lutece. I put love in my . . . serving. That is all.”


Nehemiah knew how to put love in his serving. Under his leadership, the Israelites successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem after they returned from captivity. Nehemiah organized the people, encouraged them, and artfully handled all opposition. Yet his great­est achievement may have been his loving leadership. He worked alongside the people, and to identify with them in their great need he refused to take the food that was due him as governor.


The kings of ancient near-eastern countries normally ruled with harshness and cruelty. The Romans of New Testament times often treated their subjects unfairly and brutally. And leaders today sometimes consider their own interests and finances before that of their followers. In contrast to these unloving, me-first forms of leadership, Jesus called leaders to give up their own rights, to serve instead of dictate, and to risk everything for others.


We like being the head pin, but falling first is not our game. Mark says that Jesus took the blame for us. And in so doing, He demon­strated loving leadership (Mark 10:45). All would-be leaders should fall in behind Him.


F.B. Meyer

Heart Preparation
Read Nehemiah 2. Consider the servant leadership of Nehemiah and the prayer which prepares him for his service. Where can you learn from Nehemiah’s example and apply it in your life?

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Posted on: January 10, 2013 - 9:07PM

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