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June 2 – Start with prayer 

“Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.” – Nehemiah 1:6

Scripture reading: Nehemiah 1:4-11

Perhaps your life, marriage, family, or your business is in shambles. When everything is a disgrace, where do you start? Start with and persist in prayer. Nehemiah got the distressing news of Jerusalem. Why did he fast and pray? Because he knew the LORD would hear his prayers, and was and is able to do more than we can imagine. Nehemiah calls God great and awesome and covenant-keeping. What a reminder for us! God works wonders, not because the person who prays is worthy, but because He is able and He cares. God has promised to hear the prayers that His children bring in humble faith.

Nehemiah’s confession is a striking example for us. You are (I hope) going to church today; don’t come to God pretending you have no sin and are worthy of God’s blessing. No, we must own our sins, all of them: individual sins, corporate sins, and sins of neglect. The years that Judah heaped up punishment from God was before Nehemiah’s time, but Nehemiah did not make excuses; he owned the wrong, confessed the guilt, and asked God to do what He promised: hear the prayers and redeem His people.

Nehemiah came with confidence because He had the covenant promises. Believers today have the covenant and the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. So where do we start when all is a mess? Seek the Lord in faith and prayer. In this book we will see how God answers Nehemiah’s many prayers. Will you persist in humble prayer, seeking the Lord to help you serve Him today?

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God that His greatness and kindness toward us does not depend on our worthiness. Confess your sin, and ask for the Lord’s blessing where it is needed most.

Rev. Simon Lievaart currently serves Bethel United Reformed Church of Smithers BC. Prior to this, he served the United Reformed Church in Doon, IA. Rev. Lievaart grew up in southern Alberta, attended Redeemer University College and Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at

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