“And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept and mourned certain days and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven, and said ‘I beseech You, O Lord God of Heaven, the great and terrible God, that keeps covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eye open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before You now, day and night  . . .’.”

Nehemiah 1:4-6a

How deep the darkness and how steely cold the heavens if this is not true.

“Open eyes and attentive ears.”

That’s what Nehemiah prayed for that day after hearing of his countrymen’s “affliction and reproach” and the “broken down walls and burned gates” in the beloved city of Jerusalem (v.3).  And, his subsequent response to the news revealed great spirituality and humility as he was moved to tears, mourning, fasting and prayer.

We need not wonder if our hearts are still pliable in the Potter’s Hands if this is also our response over the condition of God’s work and our nation.  Assuredly, we should always seek to be spiritually-upbeat in our thoughts and words in our dealings with others; however, there are times when great grief over the sad state-of-affairs of Christ’s Church and our society will also cause us to be moved as Nehemiah was.

That’s why it’s important for us to know Whom to go to (“the God of Heaven”) and how to pray (“that Your ears will be attentive and Your eyes open”).  That’s also how Solomon prayed that day when they dedicated the Temple (II Chron. 6:40).  And, it’s also the way the anonymous psalmist prayed when he found himself down in the depths (Ps. 130:1-2).

It’s easy to talk Biblical truths; it’s another thing to believe them.

Thus, the question is “Do I really believe His eyes are open and His ears are attentive when I pray?  When I pray, do I pray with confident assurance that He is looking and listening or do my prayers more resemble a child with a toy bow-and-arrow, shooting arrows into the sky and hoping to hit something?”

Again, our confidence must be in Who He is, not who we are.

And, we must make sure our “hands are clean and our hearts are pure” as we pray—which means we’re not harboring secret sins or full of spiritual strongholds; otherwise, our efforts are in vain (Ps. 24:3-4).

So, how goes it, Pilgrim?  Are your troubled in spirit and are your prayers arising from a broken and contrite heart as Nehemiah’s did?

If so, do not wonder or worry if God’s “eyes are open and His ears are attentive to your prayer”—for such praying is never despised or discarded by our Lord (Ps. 51:17).

Why not pause right now, close your eyes and try to picture yourself in close communion with your Heavenly Father?  Picture Him bending over with open arms, ready to gather you in and saying, “What’s on your heart, My child?”  Then, open up and tell him, even as a flood of hot tears begin pouring down your face.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated November 20, 2010

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