When Opposition Comes-PRAY!

After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” ~Nehemiah 4:14

God calls each of us to do the impossible. An Adidas ad from the early 2000’s ran the following quote, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Nehemiah was given an impossible task by the Lord, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Like Nehemiah, each of us has been called to an “impossible” future. I believe that this impossible life could be summed up as an abundant life. In John 10:10 Jesus states, “the thief cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy, but I am come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” This passage reveals that there is an enemy, or a thief, that would seek to oppose the abundant life that God has planned for us. How do we overcome the attacks of this thief? In Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah was faced with such an enemy.

To begin with, when the enemy mocked him, the builders, and their work, Nehemiah prayed. The enemy was hurling insults and put downs, but Nehemiah changed the radio station and tuned into the Heavenly Father’s message to him. As Bishop Corder stated, “we need the affirmation of the Father to overcome the accusations of the enemy.” Many times in our lives our opposition will begin with words of discouragement from those around us or from our own inner voice. We must learn to distinguish the voice of God through prayer that we may finish the task he has assigned to us.

Secondly, when the enemy surrounded and threatened violence, Nehemiah prayed. Lawrence Richards calls this a “practical prayer” because Nehemiah also set a watch. He ceased from building the wall and he prepared the people for battle to defend their homes and families. This was a reaction to the immediate threats of violence. When he prayed, I believe that God gave him a plan of response to overcome the enemy. According to Nehemiah 4:15, the council of the Lord bested the plan of the enemy and Nehemiah was able to return to work. To be honest, this is where most of us stop praying. We have addressed the need and confronted the enemy. After we have stopped the initial attack, we either go about the rest of our business or we stop progressing toward our goal. We stop building so that we may always be ready and vigilant for the attack. In doing this we miss out on God’s abundance for us.

In Nehemiah, we find a man who prayed without ceasing (2 Thessalonians 5:17). As Nehemiah continued to pray, God began to lay out more than just an initial plan, but a strategy to finish the work. After Nehemiah 4:15, Nehemiah adjusts his plan to put half of his force to work and the other half to guard the wall. The working force was never far from their weapons and all the people were instructed to listen for the call of the trumpet to gather for battle— should the need arise. Nehemiah understood the need of ongoing practical prayer. In the same way, we should ask the Lord for a long-term strategy.

Today, I challenge you to pray and ask God for the impossible abundant life he has promised you. Specifically pray for affirmation in your calling, a plan to overcome the immediate attacks of the enemy and for a strategy that will enable you to step into your unbounded unlimited future with God. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

Are you ready? Get set. Go.