“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight . . .’” Nehemiah 2:4-5a
Sometimes we find ourselves having to speak or make an appeal in an important or even fearful situation. The stakes are high, our nerves taut. Right words are needed, but even more than that, favor is needed from the one to whom we’re speaking. What do we do?
In the Old Testament, we see what Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, did in just such a situation. He had heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and that his countrymen were in trouble. He wanted to go help, but he would need the king to look on him with favor and grant him leave to make the journey.
So what did Nehemiah do? He prayed and asked God to give him success and grant him favor with the king. Wisely, Nehemiah knew that God could open the king’s heart to his request. And wisely, Nehemiah prayed before he ever approached the king (Nehemiah 1:11), but as we see in the scripture above, he also whispered a prayer immediately before he made his appeal. Nehemiah relied on prayer, he relied on God.
Are any of us in need of favor today? Let’s remember Nehemiah and his dependence on God. Let’s bathe the situation in prayer.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Proverbs 21:1
*When has God granted you favor?