“Do you have a problem with people? It probably won’t get resolved until you take it to God in prayer.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Few Old Testament characters surpass Nehemiah in the potency of their leadership. God used him to motivate and direct a relatively small group of people in building a wall around the city of Jerusalem and then to establish a godly government. Nehemiah discovered Jerusalem’s desperate need and then brought it before God in prayer. It is highly significant that the first place we find this great leader is on his knees. Leadership requires prayer.
As a great leader, Nehemiah responded to the needs of Jerusalem and its people with clear recognition, personal concern, an appeal to God, and availability.
First, Nehemiah clearly recognized the need. Although he worked in a palace, Nehemiah did not allow his heart or mind the luxury of ivory-tower preoccupations. He was not afraid to see the real problems, especially when it came to hearing about the needs of those closest to his heart.
Second, Nehemiah was personally concerned with the need. Nehemiah allowed the anguish and misery of his people to pierce his heart. And from that wound, Nehemiah’s mourning for his people along with his passion were poured out in sonorous refrain before the Lord.
Third, Nehemiah brought the need to God first. He resisted the normal temptation to pick up the conductor’s baton and orchestrate the reparation of the wall himself. Instead, he fell on his knees, beseeching the One whose place it is to conduct all the affairs of humanity and to meld their efforts into one harmonious plan.
Fourth, Nehemiah was available to meet the need. With this final theme, the overture of leadership reaches its finale. Amid the climactic strains of Nehemiah’s petition (Nehemiah 1:11), an essential leadership quality emerges—availability. But in order to be available to meet the need of rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah had to overcome a hurdle: King Artaxerxes.
This brings us back to the opening premise of our study—the primary importance of prayer in leadership. Only God has the power to mould and move the heart of a king.
“A Leader—From the Knees Up!” is from Chuck Swindoll’s series Hand Me Another Brick: Timeless Lessons on Leadership. You can stream this message online anytime at insightforliving.ca/audiolibrary.