Let's Talk About Asking for Help

by Paul Bonner

Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.

Today, let's talk about...

PRAY AND REPLY

Nehemiah 1:11–2:8

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in honoring your name. Please give success to your servant today and grant him favor in the presence of this man!”

Cupbearer’s plea

At that time, I was a cupbearer to the king. In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, the king was about to be served wine. I took the wine and gave it to the king. Since I had never seemed sad in his presence, the king asked me, “Why do you seem sad? Since you aren’t sick, you must have a broken heart!” I was very afraid and replied, “May the king live forever! Why shouldn’t I seem sad when the city, the place of my family’s graves, is in ruins and its gates destroyed by fire?” The king asked, “What is it that you need?” I prayed to the God of heaven and replied, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, please send me to Judah, to the city of my family’s graves so that I may rebuild it.”

With the queen sitting beside him, the king asked me, “How long will you be away and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I told him how long I would be gone. I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may letters be given me addressed to the governors of the province Beyond the River to allow me to travel to Judah. May the king also issue a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, directing him to supply me with timber for the beams of the temple fortress gates, for the city wall, and for the house in which I will live.”

The king gave me what I asked, for the gracious power of my God was with me. 

Key Passage: The king asked, “What is it that you need?” I prayed to the God of heaven and replied, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, please send me to Judah, to the city of my family’s graves so that I may rebuild it.” —Nehemiah 2:4-5

Commentary:

When Nehemiah learned about the situation in Jerusalem, he mourned. He was compelled to go and help. The city was in disrepair. As the king’s chief cupbearer, Nehemiah needed permission and blessing from the king in order to leave. Appearing upset in front of the king was a potentially fatal risk; Nehemiah could have been reassigned, jailed, or worse. Sometimes when we have needs, we hesitate to ask others for help. Not Nehemiah! He went directly to the person who could help him the most, which was a very courageous decision. Remember that God’s answers to prayer may come as a result of us asking others for help.

 

Questions to Discuss:

Why was the city of Jerusalem so important to Nehemiah?

If your home or church was destroyed by fire or storm, how would you react?

How did Nehemiah lead well?

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