After God’s people had heard and obeyed His Word by observing the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:13-18), they met for a time of corporate prayer. The celebration brought them to an understanding of both the holiness of God and the depth of their sins, which led to an expression of deep sorrow and humility. The Israelites’ example provides guidelines for the discipline of prayer that are meaningful, logical, and relevant for us today.
In Nehemiah’s day, when the people of Jerusalem prayed, they meant business! They did not offer mere words—they signed their names to a sealed document (Nehemiah 9:38). The document contained an agreement that was prepared and established before God. In it they promised to pattern their lives according to His truth, to put first things first.