Late in November 2019 and into December 2019, we began to hear about the coronavirus/COVID-19 that started spreading in Wuhan, China. It became a global pandemic and is still causing great distress, pain, sickness, death and disruption.
I was actually in Japan and Malaysia in mid-December for meetings with some leaders and pastors.
Here we are in April 2020, and the last four months have increased uncertainties and distress for everyone.
It was in the month of Kislev (November/December) when Nehemiah heard of the distress, reproach and scattering of his people, that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and gates were on fire. Nehemiah 1:4 says he "sat down and wept, and mourned for many days, fasted and prayer before the God of Heaven ...
Although, Nehemiah has a specific context to a particular time in Israel's history and journey, I believe praying through Nehemiah's full prayer in verses 5-11 has great import and spiritual significance for us, the church, as well, especially as we corporately intercede today.
Nehemiah's intercession for the people:
"I pray Lord God of Heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying If you are unfaithful (act treacherously), I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name. Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name, and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man... (Artaxerxes, King of Persia)" (Nehemiah 1:5-11)
He prayed, fasted and sought the Lord for four months with seemingly no answer, "O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name..."
It was finally in the month of Nisan (March/April in our Gregorian calendar) that the Lord moved in the heart of King Artaxerxes to see what was burdening and bringing sorrow to the heart of Nehemiah. Ultimately, it was during the month of Nisan that the heavenly King moved upon the earthly king to intervene on behalf of Nehemiah's heart cry and prayers. He was released with all the authority of the King to go to Jerusalem to bring help and healing to his people.
This past Kislev (November/Dec) 2019 began sundown Nov. 28. Nisan (March/April) 2020 began sundown March 25 and will conclude sundown April 24.
I am personally looking to the providential intervention by the Lord like in Nehemiah's day, to the need for the intervention of the Lord in our day. Many of us have wept and been burdened by what we've seen over the last four months due to this global pandemic. We need the Lord's manifold wisdom, favor and guidance today, as in the day of Nehemiah.
Personally, I really believe the answer is already begun, though, and like with Nehemiah, there may be challenges and hindrances. There were at least seven primary things that came against Nehemiah's leadership by Sanballat and Tobiah, but he kept his focus on the promises of God for bringing deliverance, protection and healing to the people. Likewise, may we continue to build with one hand, and with the other put on the whole armor of God and weapons of warfare, which are not carnal but mighty in pulling down the strongholds.
We've recently remembered the great deliverance of God for His people in the Passover, Good Friday and Easter, which were in the month of Nisan. Now as we come to the conclusion of Nisan 2020 on April 24, may we look to our deliverer and healer for His breakthrough so we may move into the next season of rebuilding in the lives of the multitudes.
I think it would be fitting to quote the late Duncan Campbell from the 1948 Hebrides Revival:
"It takes the supernatural to break the bonds of the natural. You can make a community mission-conscious. You can make a community crusade-conscious. BUT ONLY GOD can make a community God-conscious. Just think about what would happen if God came to any community in power. I believe that day is coming. May God prepare us all for it." Duncan Campbell
"Yes Lord, we agree for a supernatural breakthrough to break the bonds of the natural. Hear our cries Lord!"
Keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, and let us hold to the landmarks He has given to us from times past. Could this be another Nehemiah moment? Another Divine Awakening Moment?
Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network bringing hope and healing to communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and cooperative efforts. He is the author of numerous books, including In Search of a Father's Blessing and Leadership Awakening: Foundational Principles for Lasting Success.
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