Read:  Neh 1:1-2:10

When I heard this, I sat down and wept.  In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of Heaven.  Nehemiah 1:4 

13 years after Ezra returned to Judah with the 5000, Nehemiah (a Hebrew and cup bearer to King Artaxerxes) gets word that Jerusalem is a wreck and the walls around the city are down. When he heard about the state of Jerusalem he sat down and wept for days, praying and fasting for his people and the holy city.

Nehemiah is a beautiful story of God working through people to accomplish His plan. Nehemiah finds himself burdened with the news that Jerusalem is disgracefully in shambles.

His first move is not going into action, but sitting down and praying. The text says that he was so heartbroken for the situation that he wept, mourned and fasted. Nehemiah found himself with a burden and a burden can be a powerful thing. As in Nehemiah’s case, it can drive you to prayer, it can break your heart, it can inspire you to fast, and cause you to storm the gates of heaven in intercession.

Ultimately, Nehemiah’s burden felt like a heavy weight that would only be lifted in prayer and even that didn’t happen quickly. But from those prayers came opportunity and favor with the king and empowerment and action on Nehemiah’s part to do something about the problem.

So what are you burdened for? Your kids, an injustice in the world like human trafficking or extreme poverty? For me, my burden is for all the people who don’t know how much God loves them and how much He sacrificed to adopt them into His family. My heart breaks when I see the hopelessness of a life apart from God’s love and Jesus’ saving grace.

If you have never experienced a burden like that, ask God now to break your heart with the things that break His. Then buckle up…  the adventure is about to begin.

Father, break my heart with what breaks yours. Don’t allow me to be so consumed with my own comfort and position that I don’t care about the least and the lost.  Use me in prayer and fasting, and like Nehemiah, use me to make a difference. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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