ODJ: Sweet Music

May 26, 2016 

READ: Nehemiah 1:1–2:6  

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied (2:4-5).

Our music practice was not going well. The team was tense because we were gaining no traction in selecting and practising songs for an important event. Then it happened. A young woman said softly, “I think we should pray about this.” And with that, she called out to God to help us move forward in practising and performing well for Him.

Nehemiah also knew the power of prayer. Forced to live in Babylon for decades, he had become the cupbearer for the Persian king Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:11). Nehemiah was saddened to learn of the sorry state of Jerusalem and his people there, so he asked the king for permission to go and help lead the restoration of the city—but not before he spent “days” calling out to God (v.4). Nehemiah’s prayers to “the great and awesome God” included requests for Him to intervene and move the king’s heart so he could return home (vv.5,11).

The following spring, as Nehemiah served “the king his wine”, Artaxerxes asked him why he looked so sad and how he could help. “With a prayer to the God of heaven”, Nehemiah requested to head home to “rebuild the city” (2:1-5). What happened next brought joy to Nehemiah’s heart, for the king gave him permission to pack up and head back to Judea.

This cupbearer and his praying ways remind me of the One who once asked God the Father, “If you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me” (Luke 22:42). Jesus prayed often—seeking God’s strength and that His will be done.

After the young woman prayed for our music team, things finally began coming together. The unified sounds must have been sweet music to God’s ear. May we always remember to pray—seeking God’s will for each situation we face.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan: Jeremiah 38:1-13

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and consider how prayer, joy and thankfulness work together. 
What things have you been trying to handle without prayer? Why is it so vital that we seek God’s will to be done as we pray to Him?