Throughout my long years of ministry I have so often heard people state, "I don't think it's right to pray for myself. I just pray for others." I've always tried to convince them that our loving, caring God wants us to lift our own cares and concerns to Him. We are fortunate that He is not like a human being who might get tired of hearing us "whining" and complaining! I have learned from personal experience that my Heavenly Father, my Abba, sincerely desires to hear all my expressions of joy and gratitude, as well as my laments and cries for help.
I decided to write about this today as I was reading in the book of Nehemiah. In chapter 2 we see Nehemiah going before the king to give him his wine. The king takes notice of Nehemiah's forlorn expression. The king asks, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I stopped reading there at verse 2, and sat for a moment, feeling the presence of Holy Spirit. Then I heard Him say, "This is how your Father feels about you. He notices your sadness of heart." I was deeply touched. Even though I know God cares about what I'm going through in every single day, it is greatly encouraging to know that He sees and recognizes our "sadness of heart" and He wants us to tell Him about it!
Nehemiah 2:2-6: "...so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time."
It may seem odd to glean understanding about prayer in the book of Nehemiah, but it really spoke to me this morning! If King Artaxerxes, a pagan king, would be this benevolent and concerned about Nehemiah's sadness, how much more will our Heavenly Father care and want to hear about ours? Once the king learns the reason for Nehemiah's sadness, and the way to help him out of it, he is pleased to do so. Oh, how our Abba, our Daddy, wants to communicate with us in this intimate way! Nehemiah prays to God, "Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night" (Neh 1:6). He really does see His God as a Person with ears and eyes, and he knows it pleases God for us to praise Him and to cry out to Him, day and night!
How blessed we are to know that we have Yeshua as an intercessor on our behalf. Job said, "My Intercessor is my Friend as I pour out my tears to God." (Job 16:20). Therefore He (Yeshua/Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
Life in this world becomes more challenging every day. People are struggling financially, emotionally and physically in the face of rising inflation, more threats of disease and loss of jobs and homes. God cares. He really does want to hear from you, His children. Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner. (Lamentations 2:19) Whatever our personal struggles in this hour, it can't be any worse than Jonah's, when he found himself deep in the bowels of a huge fish! How in the world did he deal with that unimaginable horror? He prayed, "From the depths of the grave I called for help and you listened to my cry" (Jonah 2:2).
Ask God to fortify your tired soul, infusing it with His strength. Take the promises of God's Word as spoken to YOU personally - because they are.
Kelly Ferrari Mills