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Praying with Proper Perspective

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By Greg Laurie

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. 

Nehemiah 1:4

Have you ever wept over anything? Have you ever wept over the condition of your nation or loved ones who have turned their backs on God? Have you ever wept over your spiritual condition?

When Nehemiah heard about the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, he wept. He also prayed, saying,

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!” (Nehemiah 1:5–6 NLT)

Notice the use of the words Imy, and we in this confession. As we look at the life of Nehemiah in Scripture, we don’t read of any notable sin. Yet he was saying, “I have sinned. I’m responsible.”

The prophet Isaiah wrote about being in God’s presence: “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. . . . Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies’” (Isaiah 6:1, 5 NLT).

Loose paraphrase: “Oh man, I’m a loser! I have to get control of the things I say. God is so great, and I’m so sinful.” Isaiah was sorrowful over his condition. It’s what Nehemiah experienced as well.

It’s easy to point fingers at everyone else and claim they’re the problem. But do we ever stop and consider that the problem could be us?

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