While doing a study on the book of Nehemiah some time ago, I learnt a few things that I would like to share with us to help us get things done in this New Year 2024.

After two return journeys to Israel, by the exiles who had been taken captive to Babylon, Nehemiah was still in the service of King Artaxerxes of Persia, as a cup bearer. This position tells us that Nehemiah must have been a trustworthy and influential person because this job is of a very sensitive nature.

Hanani, Nehemiah’s brother had come to see him and give him the news that all was not well with the exiles that had returned to Judah. This saddened Nehemiah so much so that his countenance was downcast, even in the presence of the king whom he served.  The king noticed and asked Nehemiah why he was disturbed. Nehemiah’s first reaction was of fear. But in spite of his fear he went ahead and told the king all that had befallen his people.

The king was sympathetic to his plight and asked Nehemiah how he could help. Nehemiah said a prayer to “the God of heaven” right there and told the king all that he needed. He became bold and asked for permission to go and join his people in rebuilding the city of Judah (the city of his ancestors) that was in ruins. He asked for letters to grant him favour for safe travels all the way to his ancestral home and also for provision regarding some of the building material that were required for the extensive work to be done.

The king granted him all he asked for and much more. The king sent army officers and horsemen to protect Nehemiah.

So here are some of the things that I learnt and that I would like to share. This year no matter how we feel, we should get up and get going. Nothing must stop us. In spite of how sad Nehemiah felt, {it was recorded thus: “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days, I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4 NLT} he still went to work serving as the king’s cup bearer. He did not allow the current circumstances overwhelm him to the point of being absent from work though it showed on his face that he was worried about something. When the king asked what the matter was, he was petrified but even that fear did not stop him from pouring out his heart to the king.  We must never hesitate to pour out our hearts to the King of kings.

Another lesson I learnt is that our ways of praying have to be dynamic. We will not always have time to run into a church, or a prayer room or a devotion room. We must learn to pray on the go and pray as we go. The king was talking to Nehemiah and Nehemiah was praying right there in front of the king, but of course it was a private communication between him and God. “The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’ With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” Nehemiah 2:4-5 NLT We must do well to work on our personal relationship with God.

The third lesson learnt is that it does not pay to be vague. Whatever we have to do must be done specifically and precisely. The king asked Nehemiah how long he would be gone for and he gave a specific answer. Then the king agreed to his request. This is not the year to be faffing around in uncertainty. We must know what we want.

Finally, we must operate confidently and take advantage of every opportunity made available to us. Nehemiah made bold and detailed requests to the king and all requests were granted. This year we must not hesitate to “…come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT And be sure that God will do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to His power that is at work in us.

So this year let nothing stop us from doing what we have to do, we must pray as we go and pray on the go, we must be detailed and more precise with everything and we must boldly seize every opportunity that comes our way not forgetting to deepen our personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.