Faithlife
Faithlife

When Interceding with man

Loading…
Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  41:19
0 ratings
· 8 views

The way we talk and who we talk to regarding prayer matters. Today we'll learn why our attitude matters and why it's important to have a basic understanding of the person we are talking to regarding prayer.

Files
Notes & Transcripts
Nehemiah 2:1–8 NIV84
1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” 6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. 7 I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.

Today’s message is about prayer, but specifically, what to do when we are asking for prayer from another person.
Think to yourself about the importance of prayer.
About how God commands and wants us to come before Him in prayer and how He desires us to pray for one another.
We talked a few weeks ago of how flippant we sometimes are when we come before God in prayer, but today I’d like us to look to and learn how we should behave when talking to or asking some to “intercede” for us.
Intercede-Intercession: to intervene between two parties; prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another.
1 Timothy 2:1 NIV84
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
1 Timothy 3:1 ESV
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
Many times when we need help, we ask someone to intercede for us.
Specifically in prayer, we come to others asking for intercession; where we talk to someone we think or know will pray for us, we come with a real need or concern, and do so trusting God that He will listen and act on our behalf.
Let’s look at a few lessons we can learn from Nehemiah regarding intercession with man.

Business as usual (1-2)

4 months have passed...

We learned in chapter one that Nehemiah learned of the crisis in November or December and it is now March or April in chapter two.
So what does this tell us?
It could mean several things:
Maybe the king had just gotten back from his winter palace.
Maybe the king wasn’t in the proper mood. The officials would know this about their king and approach him accordingly. (Just like we do with our family members or co-workers!)
Nehemiah wasn’t a person of haste, he bided his time, awaiting the right moment, praying to God to give him the right time with the right words.
The fact that 4 months have passed tells us Nehemiah could wait on God.
He was a man of patience.

Those who know us best can pray best

Nehemiah 2:2 NIV84
so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid,
Here’s something that’s pretty amazing!
The king’s servants were supposed to keep a happy face/countenance.
It’s kinda like when I used to work at the store and would have to constantly tell my employees to please do not talk about their personal problems with the customers.
Most don’t care.
It’s rude.
It’s not professional.
Nehemiah said in verse 1,

What’s bothering you? (3-4)

I had not been sad in his presence before
The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), .
And yet the king picked up on a problem.
We don’t necessarily need to tell our best of friends that we’ve lost our tail (Eeyore), they’ll know when our tail has fallen off.

Listen to the response of those who care for you.

Nehemiah 2:2 NIV84
so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid,
Nehemiah 2:2
“This can be nothing but sadness of the heart.”
How many people do you know who could be around you and detect this?
When we are responsible people who don’t go around complaining about every little thing, running our mouths, and typing on FB, “I’m sad” just to elicit responses from digital friends, people will not only listen to us, but it points to open and unconfessed sin in our lives.

What’s bothering you? (3-4)

Respect your audience

“May the king live forever!”
Notice that Nehemiah is talking to the king, so he is addressing him as such.
He understands to whom he is talking.
When we talk to others about our prayer needs, remember your audience.
This may include someone of a different denominational/non-denominational background.
You may be talking to a new believer, whether younger or older in age, this doesn’t matter.
You might be talking to a more mature believer, who is more sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Think about to whom you are talking and consider the implications.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

“Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
When someone is going to intercede for us, be careful not to beat around the bush.
When I was studying, I tried to think of the word that would give a good definition for saying one thing and meaning another.
I Googled this question and the responses were not what I was looking for. Here are the words that came up:
hypocrisy, being facetious, and duplicitous.
All of us are guilty of at least one of these at one time or another.
The point is, say what you mean and mean what you say-especially when someone is praying for you or taking care of you spiritually.

Include prayer in your conversation

Notice verse 4.
The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven
Nehemiah stopped before he answered the king and prayed to God.
Let’s look at 2 take-a-ways from this:
We need to be including prayer prior to our requests.
Spontaneous prayer is important.

State your need (6-8)

Answer any questions for those praying for you.

Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?”
I like to pray for people on the spot, and especially when they can tell me about their request.
Notice the king is asking Nehemiah about his need.
When we pray for people, ask them specifics if it is appropriate.
Seldom will people pray for, or care about the general prayer request.
You’ve heard me mention those before:
“We need to pray for all the sick people.”
“We need to remember the lost.”
“Well, my elderly aunt has a sitter who thinks one of her friend’s kids might be on drugs.”
Tell the person you’d love to pray for the sick, lost, whatever. Are there any sick or lost people they personally know who you could pray for? Do this consistently and people will pick up on that.
Whenever someone says, “we need to lift up all the lost,” start praying for EVERY SINGLE LOST PERSON YOU KNOW. It’ll take forever. They’ll never ask you to pray for all the lost again.

Tell them what you need.

The New International Version (1984) Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

“If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors

The New International Version (1984) Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?”

Be specific with your requests.
You might not know or realize this, but many times our prayer requests and time of prayer requests are a way that we spiritualize and try to get away with community gossip.
It’s the Christian way of justifying gossip.
Here’s a couple things you could do when you feel like people are being general in their prayer requests:
Tell the person you’d love to pray for the sick, lost, whatever. Are there any sick or lost people they personally know who you could pray for? Do this consistently and people will pick up on that.
Whenever someone says, “we need to lift up all the lost,” start praying for EVERY SINGLE LOST PERSON YOU KNOW. It’ll take forever. They’ll never ask you to pray for all the lost again.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →