READ: Nehemiah 8:1-12
A UNITED DESIRE: It is quite something when people gather together determined to hear God's Word (v1). Let's pray that the Lord will stir up our desire for personal and public study of the Bible.
A WORD FOR ALL: Sometimes we forget that the Bible is God's Word for the world - suitable for the "open square" (v3) - and not just God's Word for the church. Let's pray for a greater boldness to speak about what the Bible says. Let's also think of the names of some of those we have already been speaking to so that we can pray for them.
A REAL RESPECT: Everyone present registered that the Word of God is life changing. That went to great practical lengths to give it a high place and they stood up with respect as Ezra opened it (vs4,5). If we register any de-prioritising of God's Word in our lives let's be open about it and ask others to pray for us on it.
A CONTEXT OF WORSHIP: Our openness to God's Word is related to our openness to the Lord Himself. We should read God's Word in an attitude of worship (v6) as worship and obedience go hand in hand. Let's take time now to bless God for His love towards us and for His willingness to speak to us through His Word.
A COMMITMENT TO UNDERSTANDING: Over and over again in Nehemiah 8 we find an emphasis on understanding (vs 2, 3, 7, 8, 12). We need to make the effort to get at the real meaning of all that God says. Let's pray about our personal timetables to ensure that such study is never programmed out of our lives.
A PRACTICAL RESPONSE: The people were convicted by God's Word and began to cry (v9c). Sometimes our repentance needs to be expressed in more practical ways than tears if our obedience is to be complete. The people of Ezra's day were told to celebrate and share (vs9,10). Let's pray for a real ability to respond consistently to God's Word in the most appropriate way. Let's especially have in mind the need for us to minister to others and pray for any practical social action projects we may be involved in.
A TIME FOR JOY: Obedience to God's Word will always lead to rejoicing (v10c). Even when God corrects us the ultimate outcome must always be joy. Let's pray that we will never lose sight of this and become offended at the way God seeks to challenge things in our lives.