Jesus’ disciples asked Him to show them how to pray in the New Testament, but I think we can also learn how to pray by seeing how the prophets of the Old Testament cried out to God for the people they were called to minister to.
Pray: that the Holy Spirit would teach you how to pray, every time you open your mouth to talk to God.
Read: Nehemiah 1:5-11
Applications: You may have heard of the acronym “ACTS” before in the context of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. I think we often focus our prayers too much on supplication and not on the other aspects; it is easy to think only of our desires when we talk to God and forget to praise Him, confess to Him, and thank Him. As soon as I read Nehemiah’s prayer, I thought of ACTS, with all four components and pretty much in that order. I was really inspired by the way he prayed–his heart to adore God, to confess his sins as well as the sins of his people, to thank God for His promises, and to ask God for His favor.
In addition to Nehemiah’s example of prayer, I especially love verse 9 because of the beautiful reminder it contains of God’s faithfulness:“but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” We can never stray too far from God, and our sin can never be too much for His grace to overcome. Praise Him for that assurance 🙂
Pray: that every time you pray, the Holy Spirit dwelling in you would remind you to adore God, confess to God, and thank God for all that He is and all that He’s done before you ask Him for anything.