“Even For Thirty Seconds” (Nehemiah 2:4-5)

“Thanks for the dinner, Brother! It has been too long!”

I did an air pump with my friend as he sat across the dining table. It was my first meal at a restaurant since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic. Although we had communicated frequently with text messages and emails, I had not personally met with this dear Brother in the Lord for over six months. Thus, it was a welcome reunion and the hour and a half sped by and as we shared about our respective companies and personal issues that we were both facing. As we began to wrap our dinner, he looked at me and asked, “How is your wife and marriage?”

I smiled and pursed my lips. “Thanks for asking. You know, always a struggle. We have such different hours and she is so busy with her dental practice. We barely have time to pray.”

He gravely looked at me. “Brother, you must find the time to pray! It is so important.” His eyes softened. “But I’m embarrassed, I don’t have to tell you this.”

I shook my head. “It’s okay. I need to hear this. Do you always find time to pray with your wife? I know you are always traveling and you keep very odd hours.”

He sighed. “Yes, it is very difficult. There are days that I miss praying with her, but I always try. I will call her sometimes during the day and pray with her, sometimes even for thirty seconds.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Sometimes it is as simple a prayer like, ‘Dear God, thank you for blessing me with my wife and family. Please take care of them this day and keep them safe.’ ”

It was a revelation. “Wow, so brief.” I nodded in agreement. “I can do this.”

My friend chuckled. “You are a perfectionist. I know you always want to find the right time and right words to pray, but we don’t always need that.”

He was right. I often put off praying with my wife because I did not want it to be an informal phone call during the day between patients or while preparing a meal, but this is exactly when I should take the time to prayer with her, if even for thirty seconds. The next day, in the middle of my cases and her patients, I called her and I prayed with her over the phone for thirty seconds. When we saw each other for the first time a day later, she thanked me and told me it was very meaningful. I apologized to her and told her that I would be a better husband and head of our family, finding more opportunities to pray, in spite of our unconventional schedules. 

Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”

Nehemiah 2:4-5 (ESV)

Nehemiah was a great man of prayer. He was a Jew and held the esteemed and dangerous position as cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes. Throughout his book are several prayers that can serve as models of prayer for all of us but the one that made a deep impression upon me is this prayer that was recorded just before he made his request to the King to return to Judah. Nehemiah’s heart was troubled when he heard that his fellow Jews who had returned to Jerusalem were having great difficulty rebuilding the broken city walls because of their numerous enemies and interpersonal conflicts. He was concerned for their safety and wanted to ask the King to also allow him to join them. However to make such a bold request by a servant of the King was unheard of and could be answered with imprisonment or execution. His brief prayer just before he makes his request to the King is a beautiful testimony of how we should pray unceasingly, no matter the circumstances or how brief the opportunity may be. 

…Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Romans 8:34 (ESV)

Jesus Christ continually prays for us. Surely, I can pray with my wife, even for thirty seconds. 

Amen.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

2 thoughts on ““Even For Thirty Seconds” (Nehemiah 2:4-5)

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