Here are four secrets to answered prayer based on the life of Nehemiah:
- Base your request on God’s character. Pray like you know God will answer you: “I’m expecting you to answer this prayer because of who you are. You are a faithful God. You are a great God. You are a loving God. You are a wonderful God. You can handle this problem, God!”
- Confess the sins of which you’re aware. After Nehemiah bases his prayer on who God is, he confesses his sins. He says, “I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us” (Nehemiah 1:6-7 NLT). It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet he’s including himself in the national sins. He says, “I’ve been a part of the problem.”
- Claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:8 NLT). Can you imagine telling God to “remember” something? Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, “God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we’d repent, you’d give it back to us.”
Does God have to be reminded? No. Does he forget what he’s promised? No. Then why do we do this? Because it helps us remember what God has promised.
- Be specific in what you ask for. If you want specific answers to prayer, make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they’re answered?