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Prayer Tools: Nechemiah: To Whom Are You Speaking

“I then prayed to the God of Heaven, and I said to the king” (Nehemia 2:4-5). Meaning, although he actually spoke to King Artaxerxes, in his heart, Nehemia intended those words for The King of Kings, the Holy one, Blessed is He, ‘God of Heaven’, as it says (Psalms 16:8): “I have set God before me always” (Ramah of Fano).

Even as Nehemia addresses the king and requests that he be granted permission to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild it, in the depth of his heart, he is addressing himself to God.

The preceding chapter describes Nehemia’s distress over what has happened to Jerusalem and his powerful prayer to God. Following this, the king notices that Nehemia appears downcast and questions him as to the reason of his anguish. When Nehemia speaks to the king, he is really beseeching God.

We sometimes do the opposite. We talk to God, but in our hearts, we rely on others to give us what we want. We pray, yet at the same time trust that our salvation will come from people who have power, money, expertise or long beards.

To whom do we direct our most pressing requests? Whose ears are our most intimate words intended for?

To live the kind of life Nehemia lived, to swim upstream against the current, to inspire and empower people who were crushed and defeated, to rebuild a city from its ruins, to give people a sense of purpose and meaning and restore their pride, we must know who we are really speaking to. 

It is only when, in the depth of our hearts, we ask God, and only God, to hear our voice; it is only when, even as we are turning to others for help, we are still directing our plea to The One Above, that we can start achieving the unimaginable. 

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