We can learn much by studying the prayers of the faithful, recorded in God’s word. For example, in Nehemiah 2, when confronted by King Artaxerxes about his “sad” appearance, Nehemiah becomes “very much afraid” (Nehemiah 2:2). Moments later, after being asked “What would you request?” and before answering the King, Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven,” what may be the shortest prayer in the Bible (Nehemiah 2:3-4).
Nehemiah teaches us that prayers can be short. Our prayers are probably spoken in a variety of lengths. As our needs change from day to day and hour to hour, we likely pray for a longer list and spend more or less time in prayer to God.
Nehemiah teaches us that prayer should be an immediate response to highly stressful situations. In a moment of terrifying fear, before anything else, Nehemiah prayed. He could have just thought about what to say next, but instead, he chose to quickly speak with God.
Nehemiah teaches that prayers are effective. He asked the King for assistance in returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the city. As the book continues, it becomes clear that God’s providence was at work as Nehemiah’s prayer and request were answered.
No matter how long or short, prayer is a critical part of every Christian’s life. When we find ourselves in moments of stress or fear, our first response should be prayer. We have the great privilege of approaching God’s throne, making our requests known, and placing our confidence in His power to answer.