Our nation is continuing to implode on almost every level, in almost every area. The darkness—ignorance of God, His Word, His principles, His Son, His Gospel, His love and His truth—is enveloping us like a thick, oppressive shroud. It’s stunning. Grievous. Surely Heaven must weep to see this great nation self-destruct.
But is it broken beyond repair? The answer to that question may be embedded in Nehemiah’s experience.
Although the subject of our Bible study centers on Nehemiah 1:1-2:6, read Nehemiah 1:1-6:16 for the full story of his involvement …
In the National Destruction Nehemiah 1:1-3
- Give the phrase that reveals Nehemiah was interested in his nation’s condition. 1:2
- What news did Nehemiah hear about God’s people and Jerusalem? 1:1-3
- How do you know Nehemiah could trust his source of information? 1:2
- Who are God’s people today?
- Give examples and a general description of the trouble and disgrace God’s people are increasingly facing in our nation.
- If Jerusalem was the home of God’s people in Nehemiah’s day, what could be one application of Jerusalem’s walls in our day?
- How informed are you about the condition of God’s people, the church, and our nation? What questions have you asked? Who do you turn to as a trusted source of information?
- If you lack information on our current state of affairs, what do you think is the reason?
In the Emotional Devastation Nehemiah 1:4
- How did Nehemiah react to the information he was given? 1:4
- Why do you think he reacted the way he did?
- Define the difference between weeping and mourning.
- When was the last time you wept over the brokenness of the family, the church and our nation? Have you ever wept over these things? If not, why?
- In your opinion, is it time to mourn?
In the Spiritual Desperation Nehemiah 1:4-11
- What accompanied Nehemiah’s prayer? 1:4
- What do people typically abstain from when they fast? 2 Samuel 12:13-23; Matthew 4:2.
- In order to pray, what other things does a person need to fast from?
- Is fasting an option for a follower of Jesus? Matthew 6:16-18
- When do you make time to fast, so that you can give God your full attention when you pray?
- What encouragement do you receive from Daniel’s example of prayer and fasting? Daniel 9:2-4, 20-23
- What was the basis for Daniel’s prayer? Daniel 9:2
- What was the basis for Nehemiah’s prayer? Nehemiah 1:8-9
- What difference does it make if you pray what you want, think, hope … or pray God’s Word? Genesis 21:9-12; Jeremiah 1:12; Matthew 24:35; Psalm 119:89.
- List other similarities between Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:4-19 and Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1:5-11.
- If you are well-informed, have you become desperate enough to set aside anything and everything so that you can pray as Nehemiah and Daniel did?
In the Personal Decision Nehemiah 2:1-5
- What was Nehemiah’s specific prayer request? Nehemiah 1:11
- How was the prayer answered? Nehemiah 2:1-6
- What quick decisions did Nehemiah have to make? Nehemiah 2:1-9
- What preceded and accompanied his decisions? Nehemiah 1:4; 2:4
- What needs and brokenness are you aware of in your family? Church? Community? Our nation?
- After prayer, what opportunity has God given you to get involved?
- When the disciples became aware of people’s needs, how did they respond? Luke 9:12
- Who did Jesus say should get involved? Luke 9:13
- Whose responsibility do you think it is to help heal the brokenness that is all around us? What have you decided to do … or not to do?
- Who are you hoping will get involved in meeting the needs, when God may be wanting to use you as an answer to your own prayers?
- Would you make the decision to get involved yourself?
Our nation, our families and our churches are broken. But if God’s people will stay informed, then turn to Him with weeping, mourning, fasting, repentance and prayer, there is still hope for healing. But … you and I must pray, then be willing to be an answer to our own prayers. ©2023 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in October 2016.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.