In Nehemiah 1:11, he ends his prayer with a very specific request, notice what it is,
“11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
(Nehemiah 1:11, NIV)
“The man” Nehemiah is talking about is the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, the most powerful person in the whole world at that time. And here Nehemiah is asking for God to grant him favor and we’ll see in the coming chapters that Nehemiah will ask him for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
And this is why chapter 1 ends this way, “I was cupbearer to the king.” Nehemiah begins to see there’s an opportunity for him, and he is willing to put himself on the line. He is willing to leave the comforts of the palace and go to the ruins and work on this problem himself. He was willing to sacrifice the security of Persia and move to the dangerous territory of Jerusalem, a city with no protection.
Why does Nehemiah do that? The answer is because he was a man with a dislocated heart. Which leads us to point and important aspect of Nehemiah which is the position of Nehemiah
You see, Nehemiah’s not just asking God to solve the problem, He’s asking God to allow Him to be part of the solution. And so after this prayer, he stands up with confidence and he begins to see, this was the opportunity God placed before him, and here he is going to do something about it and here he realizes that this was his life’s calling.
Nehemiah cared enough to volunteer. Nehemiah didn’t just care enough to ask, weep, pray, he also cared enough to volunteer. And the rest of Nehemiah tells that story and it’s amazing. After decades of the city being in ruins, he completes this entire project in 52 days! 52 days! Incredible. We will get there in the coming chapters.