You can learn a lot about a person by the way they pray. For instance, a selfish prayer indicates a selfish spirit. Their prayers sound like a Christmas list. Other people try to impress you with their prayers, yet they come off as arrogant and prideful. How then should we pray? In the first chapter of Nehemiah we find a model prayer that contains four secrets to improving your prayer life.
1. Base your request on God’s character.
Acknowledge the greatness of God. That’s what Nehemiah did. Verse 5 says, “Lord God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands.”
Notice that Nehemiah says three things about God:
A. He calls God “great” – that’s God’s position.
B. He calls God “awe-inspiring” – that’s shows God’s power.
C. He says God “keeps His gracious covenant” – that shows God’s faithfulness.
When you start your prayer by acknowledging God’s character – this is called praise.
2. Confess the sin in your life.
The second thing Nehemiah did was confess the sin in his life. “I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned.” (v. 6) Notice that Nehemiah confessed not only his sins but also the sins of his family. In our society we are taught that we are only responsible for ourselves. This is not true! We are all in this together. We are our brother’s keeper.
3. Claim the promises of God.
Nehemiah prayed, “Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses.” (v. 8) Can you imagine saying “remember” to God! God doesn’t forget. But He wants us to claim the promises He has made to us. Nothing pleases God more than when we remind God of what He has promised us. It shows that we are listening to Him and that we have heard His word.
4. Be specific in what you ask for.
If you want specific answers to your prayers you need to make specific requests. Nehemiah did not hesitate to pray for success. He boldly prayed: “Give Your servant success today.” (v. 11) Have you prayed for success? If not, why not? What is the alternative? Failure! There is nothing wrong praying for success in what ultimately leads to the glory of God. If you are God’s child, God wants you to be successful in serving Him. Pray boldly.
May God Bless