Praying, Saying, and Doing
Several groups have now returned from exile to Jerusalem. The temple has been rebuilt. But the walls have not been rebuilt, leaving the city vulnerable to the attack of enemies. God now leads Nehemiah to take up the work of rebuilding the walls.
Nehemiah sets an example in that he prayed and talked to others at the same time; he prayed and he built at the same time. An old Latin saying states: Ora et labora, “pray and work.” We need both.
Of Nehemiah we read, “I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king” (2:4-5). He had prayed beforehand, and now as he has the opportunity to speak to the king, he prays once again. Pray before you deal with people, and pray while you deal with people. Nehemiah receives permission from the king to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. He is a spiritual man, but also a practical man. He inspects the walls so that he has first-hand knowledge of the situation. He then approaches the leaders of Jerusalem. As a result, the project of rebuilding the walls is begun.
The project was a matter of cooperation; each group was responsible for a section of the wall. It is now half built when the project is threatened by enemies. Nehemiah combines prayer and sound strategy. “We prayed to our God, and set a guard” (4:9).