One of the best prayer lessons I ever got came from a guy who drank wine for a living.
He was what the ancient world called a wine taster.
His name was Nehemiah.
A wine taster was the human guinea pig who drank a king’s wine. If he dropped dead, the king would know the wine was poisoned, a high stress job if there ever was one.
Nehemiah tasted Merlots and Zinfandels for Babylonian King Artaxerxes.
One day his body language was sadder than a clown’s face. His royal highness was concerned. “Why’s your face look so sad when you’re not ill?”
Nehemiah answers that it’s because his home town of Jerusalem was as damaged as World War II’s London after Hitler’s bombs made it ground zero. He doesn’t mention he wants to lead a Habitat for Humanity rebuilding program.
Because he needs the King’s ok. The King’s question lets him lay his cards on the table.
But before he does—in the few seconds between the King’s question and his answer—Nehemiah talks to the King of kings.
“Then I prayed to the God of heaven.”
And that prayer has revolutionized my prayer life.
Pray Your Way Through Your Day
Nehemiah teaches me here three lessons on praying my way through my day.
How do you pray your way through your day?
Here are three ways:
1. By praying brief prayers. A prayer prayed between a question and an answer couldn’t possibly last any longer than a sneeze or two. Yet, as the passage makes clear, God’s pleased with it. Don’t buy into the idea that the value of a prayer depends on its length. It doesn’t. Little prayers bring big blessings.
Nehemiah taught me the importance of short prayers.
2. By praying pointed prayers. Judging by the King’s response, Nehemiah must have asked something like, “Lord, please let Artaxerxes say ‘Yes’ to my request to go to Jerusalem.” Do you want to see God work in your life in specific ways? You can. How? By praying specific prayers.
Nehemiah taught me the lesson of praying specific prayers.
3. By praying this way continuously. It seems clear to me that praying like this was as much a part of Nehemiah’s everyday living as brushing teeth is to ours. And I gladly tell you, this helped me see something I needed to see: I can pray this way!
Nehemiah taught me the habit of praying continuous prayers.
Nehemiah teaches us to pray our way through our day with brief, pointed, continuous prayers. @gfoministries
A Lasting Effect
Even I—weak and frail and fickle Charley Chase—even I can talk to God this way. No matter what the demands of my day, no matter how busy I am, no matter how many interruptions happen, I can talk to the Lord as much as teenagers who are dating text each other.
And, by praying this way—praise God!—from the time I get up until the time I go to bed, I can experience God working in my life every day, all day long.
So, for a long time now I’ve been sending the Lord these Roman Candle requests:
“Lord, help me say NO! to this temptation.”
“Lord, give me wisdom to answer this student’s question.”
“Lord, keep me calm as I make this presentation.”
I tell you, the wine taster’s prayer lesson changed my life. He taught me to pray the way he did every day, all day long, and it changed my prayer life for the better.
If you listen to him, he’ll change yours, too.