The Point: Pour out your heart to God in prayer.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce Question 1.
A gunman killed five people at the Capital Gazette newsroom on Thursday, June 28th. Armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades, Jarrod Ramos, stormed into the newsroom. He had previously sued the newspaper, unsuccessfully, for defamation. Within minutes of the first 911 calls, Ramos was found hiding under a desk and apprehended by police.
Although news stories of violent attacks may feel more common than ever, that doesn’t prevent us from being shocked.
Ask Question 1: When have you been stopped in your tracks by a news story?
In this session, we will learn how Nehemiah responded to bad news. When Nehemiah was stopped in his tracks by the news, his first response was to pray.
Use this story to supplement your discussion of Question 3: What do we learn about Nehemiah from his prayer?
NPR recently reported a story on the impact of the evangelical church in El Salvador. The story explains how the church has provided a way out for many gang members in the area. In a part of the world where violent gangs rule, many young boys have three options: join a gang, attempt to flee the country, or join the church. The story shows how, through a ministry of forgiveness, many former gang members have found a new life in Christ. Amazingly, once these members fully turn from their previous lives and submit to Christ, they are often left alone by the gangs that previously controlled them.
Like Nehemiah, these Christians in El Salvador know the importance of confession and repentance.
As we consider the struggles of Christians around the world, we can also be like Nehemiah who recognized the importance of constant prayer. Nehemiah knew that praying to God brought him into communion with God. It was not something to take lightly or something to be done once and then forgotten. Throughout the Book of Nehemiah, we see nine different prayers. He was a man of constant prayer. Similarly, Paul reminded the Christians at Thessalonica to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The news cycle turns quickly. What makes headlines today is often forgotten tomorrow. However, as Christians, we are in the game for the long run. Like Nehemiah, when we are truly moved by circumstances, our prayer response should be on-going, not momentary.
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
- What’s one memorable prayer you’ve heard or given?
- What’s your favorite way to stay in touch with those you love?
- When have you clearly seen an answer to prayer?
- What’s your initial reaction to tragic events?
- In a nutshell, what did Hananiah and his men report to Nehemiah?
- What typically catches your attention about devastating news stories?
- How would you describe Nehemiah’s reaction to the news of Jerusalem and the exiles?
- Why is confession of sin an important part of prayer?
- How did Nehemiah describe God in his prayer?
- What does it mean to “delight in revering” God’s name? What are some practical ways we can do that?
- What are some promises from God’s Word that can form the foundation of our prayers?
- What changes would you like to make to your prayer habits?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.