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  • Shawn Thornton

Whisper a Prayer

Wednesday - September 8th

Scripture to Read Today: Nehemiah 2:1-6

The King said to me, "What is it you want?"

Then I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 2:4


As I have studied the theme of prayer in Scripture and then worked to cultivate the practice into my daily life, Nehemiah's prayer in Nehemiah 2:4 has been one of my favorite prayers in all of Scripture. While we know that Nehemiah prayed as he spoke to the Persian emperor Xerxes, we do not know what he actually said to God.


Burdened because the walls of Jerusalem remained in ruin as they had been for years, Nehemiah was concerned for his fellow Israelites. Due to God's judgment on the people of Israel decades earlier, Nehemiah was born and lived his life in captivity in a foreign land. He had an influential advisory role (cupbearer to the King) with the world's emperor, but he hurt for his people. He longed to aid in their return to the land and their rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.


Nehemiah prayed and fasted for days after he received news the walls were still down, and the people of Israel were demoralized. Finally, he got a moment to persuade the King to let him leave and help lead the rebuilding efforts in Jerusalem. Xerxes noticed that his advisor appeared sad. He had never seen Nehemiah this way before. He asked the cupbearer what was wrong. The door opened wide for Nehemiah to make his request.


Before answering the Emperor, the Jewish cupbearer paused to pray. "The King said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 2:4). In the very next verse, Nehemiah made his request of the King. We do not know what he prayed, but we know that in the middle of a conversation with the most powerful man in the world, he prayed.


The King had just asked a question and was waiting for a reply. Nehemiah's prayer must have been a whispered sentence uttered in his own heart. It was probably something so simple as, "Lord, help me!"


God had prepared the Emperor's heart. He not only allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to oversee the rebuilding project, but he gave him supplies and royal authorization to complete the task. That one little prayer whispered in the middle of a conversation meant the world to Nehemiah.


As a boy in Sunday School, I learned a little song about whispering prayers throughout the day to God.


The lyrics are simple but profound. I still sing this to myself regularly. CLICK HERE for sweet children's version of the song.



Whisper a Prayer

Whisper a prayer in the morning,

Whisper a prayer at noon,

Whisper a prayer in the evening,

To keep your heart in tune.


Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can whisper a prayer to the Lord!


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