Nehemiah 2:4 “Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.”
Anyone desiring to do a great work for God would be wise to study the actions of Nehemiah. There are two great secrets to Nehemiah’s success. The first great secret is found in the verse above where Nehemiah says, “So I prayed…” The second great secret to his success is found in Nehemiah 4:6 where it says, “So built we…” The keyword to both of these verses is “so.” In other words, his reaction to whatever he faced was to pray and build. Nehemiah resorted to prayer every time he faced opposition. However, he didn't just stop to pray, but he continued to build after he prayed. He could have just prayed, but had he just prayed the building would have stopped. He also could have continued to build, but he would have missed the help of God had he not prayed.
The secret to every great work of God is that when opposition comes, the people of God pray and continue to build. When I look at the great churches of my lifetime, the great thing that grabs my attention about them is that they prayed and built. When I study the church of Jerusalem and the church of Antioch, I see that the greatest reason God blessed those churches is that they prayed and built. The trademark of the life of Christ is that He prayed and built. The one characteristic of the ministry of the apostles is that they prayed and built. Nehemiah understood that he needed God’s power, wisdom and help that comes through prayer, but he also understood that God’s power, wisdom, and help was for the sole purpose for him to build, so he built. Let me share a couple of thoughts with you about this great truth.
First, God will never use you to do anything unless you pray. Before Nehemiah ever lifted a hammer to rebuild the wall, you see him praying to God for help. To start something for God without bathing it in prayer is asking for total failure. You cannot do the work of God without spending time in prayer. You can try and do God’s work alone, but you will find no answers to the problems you face. Before you ever start anything for God, you would be wise to spend time with God in prayer.
Second, building should always be the action you take after prayer. Many people will spend hours praying but never building, and then they wonder why they don't see God doing a great work through them. Prayer alone will not build a great work, but prayer and working to build together is where great works are built. I know there are those who may disagree, but you cannot show me a great work of God without God’s people working to build a great work. It still takes hard work to build a great work. It may sound spiritual to have an all-night prayer meeting, but you need to go and work for God to build something through you after the prayer meeting. God honors prayer, but He expects you to get busy working to build something after you pray so that He can work through you to help you build a great work.
Third, you are going to have a “so” in your ministry, and your response to your “so” is to pray and build. When the opposition and trials come, you need to pray and continue building. Don’t let the “so” stop you from doing the work of God. The answer to building something great for God is to pray, and build, and continuing to pray and build. The work you are doing for God still needs God, and that help will come through prayer, but His help He gives will only come when you continue to build after you pray.