Did Nehemiah pray to God because the Jews were good and he thought they deserved to have God answer their prayers? No. As a matter of fact, he told God that they had acted wickedly (Nehemiah 9:33). So, what three reasons does Nehemiah use that we can use when we need encouragement to pray to God despite our sins? What three reasons can you give to encourage your students to pray when you teach this lesson?
1. God is love. God made a covenant of love with Abraham, and through Jesus, God has made a covenant of love with all who believe in Him. We can pray to God because of His covenant of love; not because we deserve His answers to our prayers. Remember too that the Jews repented of their sins and resolved to obey God in the future. Nehemiah did not take God’s covenant of love for granted, and neither should we. Consider next week’s lesson: Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, took the covenant of peace for granted and continued to live in wickedness, resulting in dire consequences (See Numbers 25:10-13 & 1 Samuel 2:30-36).
2. God remains righteous. God will always do what is right in answer to our prayers. Our prayers and the prayers of others will never move God to do anything wrong. We can pray with confidence as Jesus taught us to pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
3. God acts faithfully. We can trust God. God acts faithfully in history and in our lives. God is not detached from reality. God does not consider our needs and problems a mere trifle. We can pray knowing that God will act faithfully to help us in our situation, and He will do whatever is right and wise for everyone concerned in answer to our prayers.
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May God continue to bless your teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!Go to the International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson for additional Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series Resources.
For the love of God's Word,