a situation that must change

1 The autobiography of Nehemiah, the son of Hecaliah: In December of the twentieth year of the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, when I was at the palace at Shushan,
2 one of my fellow Jews named Hanani came to visit me with some men who had arrived from Judah.
I took the opportunity to inquire about how things were going in Jerusalem.
"How are they getting along - ," I asked, "the Jews who returned to Jerusalem from their exile here?"
3 "Well," they replied, "things are not good; the wall of Jerusalem is still torn down, and the gates are burned."
4 When I heard this, I sat down and cried. In fact, I refused to eat for several days, for I spent the time in prayer to the God of heaven.
(The Living Bible)

Nehemiah was among the Jews who had been sent against their will to Babylon. God had allowed His people to lose their homeland because they had stopped worshiping Him and had gone off in their hearts to worship other gods.
Nehemiah, like the Prophet Daniel, probably knew that the Prophet Jeremiah had written a letter to the exiles saying that the time of their exile would be seventy years.

So at the time Nehemiah's history begins, some Jews had been allowed to go back to Jerusalem, and the matter of the re-establishment of Jerusalem was very dear to Nehemiah's heart. Therefore he was heart-broken to hear that the city where the Lord's temple had been built, was still in ruins.
In fact, the poor state of Jerusalem upset him so much that he says:
"When I heard this, I sat down and cried. In fact, I refused to eat for several days, for I spent the time in prayer to the God of heaven."

Sometimes in our life we encounter a situation which affects us in this way and we become broken-hearted, like Nehemiah did. At times like this, what are we to do?
The Accuser, the enemy of our soul, will suggest all kinds of negative responses to our minds. However, we should not listen to him, because the Lord Jesus has already warned us that his suggestions are aimed at stealing from us, destroying us and killing us (see John 10:10).

Instead we should do what Nehemiah did:
he sat down and cried out his grief
he spent some days fasting
and he prayed about the matter that had broken his heart.

Is it all right for a man to cry? you ask.
Wise men will use this method of expressing their grief. So many times now-a-days we hear of men expressing grief by doing something destructive that only makes the situation worse! Wise men should know that their Creator gave to human beings tears to express deep emotion, and wise men should use their tears as Nehemiah did, without any shame!

After Nehemiah had dealt with his grief in this godly and healing way, his mind and heart were now free to seek the Lord for a solution which would change this situation for the better. Therefore, he fasted and prayed.

Fasting and prayer are not methods by which humans twist God's arm so we can get what we want. Rather fasting coupled with prayer, opens our heart and mind to the influence of the Holy Spirit, so God can achieve His purposes through us.

Here's a prayer that you can pray today!

See you tomorrow, God willing, for more on FASTING!