January 15, 2014

A Prayer for Renewal

Nehemiah 1

For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven… I was cupbearer to the king.
—Nehemiah 1:4, 11


During the rest of this month we will study the book of Ne-hemiah, who became a community developer for God in Jerusalem. Before that, however, Nehemiah served as “cupbearer to the king” in Susa, one of the capital cities of Persia. He had to sample the king’s wine (and other foods) to protect the king from being poisoned by enemies.

When some of Nehemiah’s people (the Jews) came to report about the troubles in Jerusalem, God called Nehemiah to a new job.

Nehemiah was an organizer. He knew how to pull teams together. He was knowledgeable about woods, metals, and surveying. But he didn’t begin by raising money or gathering workers; his work began with prayer. “LORD, the God of heaven … let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying.” Nehemiah realized his plans would be futile if the Lord wasn’t at the center of them from the start.

In the New Testament, Jesus spent hours in prayer before choosing his disciples. He spent much time with the Father before going to the cross. He taught his disciples how to pray. The renewing work of God begins on our knees—not with a tape measure or a smart phone.

Is the Lord asking you to come to him in prayer before you begin work today? Renewal starts on our knees.

Father, forgive me for trying to run my life without consulting you. Renew my mind and heart to serve you, as Jesus did. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!