Last night Bro. Hudson preached from Nehemiah chapter one. I was greatly challenged as he spoke about the beginnings of revival. The whole first chapter of Nehemiah was read and as he was preaching toward the end of the chapter a phrase in the last verse arrested my attention.
Nehemiah 1:11 - O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
Before we get to verse eleven we find Nehemiah being informed about the dreaded conditions to be found in Jerusalem. We read of Nehemiah's response to the report, weeping, mourning, fasting and praying; all before the God of heaven. This truly is the best place to do our weeping, mourning, fasting, and praying.
Most of the chapter is taken up with the prayer of Nehemiah. It is a prayer of confession (personal and corporate). It is a prayer of hope claiming the promises of God.
Then in verse eleven we find these words: "Be attentive . . . to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear they name: . . . "
I found it interesting that he did not pray be attentive to the prayer of thy servants who fear thy name. The word "desire" makes all the difference in the world in relation to what is taking place here.
It seems to be a humble admission that they were weak to do what they ought to do. We know we are to fear thy name. We desire to fear thy name. But we struggle to fear thy name. We desire to be right but find it easier to be wrong. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
While we may have trouble laying hold of something we desire it does not seem likely that we will ever lay hold if we do not first desire. To desire may imply the imperfection of what we are seeking to do or be but to lack desire is to never move toward what we should do or be.
Can any of us really say that we fear thy name? To varying degrees we probably all can but as long as there are degrees then there is room for desire.
I, for one, would rather live with the humble admission of desiring to fear thy name hoping that the desire will find greater expression in my reality than to have desire wane and become an unprofitable servant.
Who knows? If we fan the flames of desire to fear thy name the Lord just may use us to build a wall or two!