Nehemiah 1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before they now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: Both I and my father’s house have sinned.
Nehemiah goes on through verse 11 and continues his prayer to the Lord but this particular verse gives so much revelation to the state of Nehemiah’s heart as he cries out to God.
He wanted God to hear his prayer – his words. He wanted the passion and the emotion in his voice and the sincerity and honesty of his words to reach the heart of God. But even more, he asked God to judge his words by his very actions. He said (in essence), “Don’t just hear my prayer but see it.” When Nehemiah prayed for the people of Jerusalem asking God to intervene because of the state of the city and the condition of the walls he didn’t just expect God to hear his prayer and move. He expected God to look at Nehemiah and see that Nehemiah believed passionately enough in the words he spoke to God that he was willing to take action and believe God to also intervene on behalf of the people. Nehemiah believe in his prayer enough to sacrifice to see it come to pass.
The authenticity of Nehemiah’s prayer was exposed by the actions in his life. He asked God to judge the prayer he was about to pray by the subsequent actions he was going to take.
How much we believe in our prayer is shown in how our actions line up with our words. We cannot pray and ask God to do something we aren’t even willing to come into line with. We can’t say to God, “Send people to take care of our pastors” if we are not willing to take steps to take care of them. We cannot pray lies from our hearts and expect to see God move on our behalf.
One of my favorite examples of actions lining up with prayers that I love to share is that of my friend who loves the Lord faithfully. She is above what many would consider to be the common marrying age and has never been wed. However, she believes that God is preparing a husband for her so she waits on Him.
Every night before going to bed, she takes a final pass through her house and makes sure that everything is picked up and clean because she says that she doesn’t want her husband to live in a messy house. She is developing the habit now so that she will be ready when he comes.
Every night she shaves her legs before getting into bed. EVERY NIGHT! She says that she knows that no man wants to lay in bed next to a prickly woman and her husband should have a wife with smooth legs to rub against. So, she shaves her legs every night now in preparation for when she has a husband because she want to be in the habit for him.
This is her way of showing God that she is serious about trusting Him to send her a husband. She knows that God is preparing a husband for her. If she believes that God is preparing a husband for her then she also has a duty to prepare herself for her husband. For her to not take steps to prepare herself for the husband God is sending her would be to display a disbelief that God is actually going to answer her prayer.
See my prayer Lord. Watch my ways to see if I believe enough in what I am asking of you to modify my own behavior to prepare for your answer.