I had never really studied the Nehemiah story until a dramatic encounter with it in the Spring of 2005.
We had just launched the security program at New Life Church that March. We had not even yet named our program (we later called it, the “Life Safety Ministry”). Our efforts had favor among church leadership. They decided the elders should pray over our program and officially bless our efforts.
There were (as I recall) four of us asked to attend that official blessing of the elders on a particular Sunday prior to morning services. While reading my bible the night before the meeting, I came upon the story of Nehemiah. That night it really came alive to me. I was drawn especially to the 2-pronged strategy of his story summarized in chapter 4, verse 9; “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (NIV).
The next morning, I was at the water fountain before the elders meeting, when my good friend, Gary Larson (one of the New Life elders and the principal architect for Focus on the Family), greeted me.
He opened his bible right there at the water fountain and said, “Listen to what I read last night.” He read Nehemiah 4:9 to me.
Since that day, the signature line of my e-mails has carried that scripture.
While the 2nd prong (“and we posted…”) is sound justification for intentional readiness, the opening, (“We prayed…”) is critical.
Take a closer look at the launch of Nehemiah’s story. While serving as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah met his brother (Hanani) one day in the citadel. He asked how folks back home (in Jerusalem) were.
His brother’s report (they were in great trouble) moved Nehemiah. See his passion poured out to God (and King Artaxerxes) from chapter 1, verse 4 through chapter 2, verse 8.
Think About it
Has your church blessed your program? Ask for it. Use this article with your request. Our program was blessed, then tested 2-1/2 years later. That’s when headlines broke across the country that a killer had been stopped by a volunteer defender at our church.
Never forget to serve your program for the right reasons. You don’t serve because you are the super ninja of protection. You serve because you are moved to protect your friends and family.
But pray. Always pray.