Reflection Guide - Nehemiah 1:5-11

Key points from the sermon:

  • Nehemiah’s prayer begins with adoration of God.  He, first and foremost, acknowledges our “great and awesome God.”

  • This leads him to confession of sins against God, not just his own sins but the sins of Israel as a whole.  He repeatedly and purposely uses the word “we.”  Romans 5:19 reminds us that we can identify with corporate confession and corporate sinfulness because we have corporate salvation and corporate redemption through Christ!  We are not called into an individualistic faith.  We are called into a family, a Body of Believers, and that truth should be reflected in our prayer life!

  • In verses 8-9, Nehemiah references Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  He uses The Word of God when speaking to God. We must know Scripture and pray in accordance to Scripture.  If we are not praying to the God of Scripture, we’ll be praying to a god of our own invention!

  • Nehemiah’s prayer ends with supplication, petitioning God for help.  Many times our prayers begin here, which can become an unhealthy or dangerous habit.  Beginning with adoration instead of supplication, will rightfully set our hearts on God and let Him inform the rest of our prayer.

Scripture to meditate on this week:

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  -James 4:8

Discussion Questions:

  1. What stands out to you when you read Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1, verses 5-11?

  2. Notice the order of Nehemiah’s prayer.  Why is it significant that he began with adoration and ended with supplication?  Does that resemble our own prayer life? Why or why not?

  3. Look at Nehemiah’s use of the word “we” in verses six and seven.  Why is corporate confession such an odd concept to us? How does Jesus speak into this concept of corporate confession?  Is our relationship with Him completely private and individualistic, or is it communal? How is this good news?

  4. Lastly, observe Nehemiah’s use of Scripture in verses eight and nine.  Why is it crucial that Nehemiah incorporated Scripture into his prayer?  Do our own prayers frequently incorporate Scripture? Why or why not?

Practice:

This week carve out at least 30 minutes to write a prayer to God.  Follow Nehemiah’s example and begin with adoration, then confession, and end with supplication.  Try using the word “we,” remembering that you’re a member of The Body. Incorporate Scripture; let The Word of God guide your prayer.  Share your written prayer with your DNA group this week if you’d like!