Nehemiah 6:9 – They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed." But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands." (NIV)
I served the Glen Kirk in Maybole, Scotland, for just over nine years. It was built on the side of a steep hill. On one side of the church, a hedgerow and hickory fencing separated the church property from the local golf course. On the other side, the boundary for the church campus was set by a 150-year-old stone wall.
One morning, I noticed that the church wall was bulging. Over the years, water, silt, and mud had built up behind the wall. As I looked down the street, I could see that other parts of the wall were bulging, too. It was ready to collapse, and I had fears of it suddenly tumbling down on top of some cars or even pedestrians in the street below. It had to be fixed. It had to be taken down stone by stone and rebuilt.
The town council had just started a new community jobs project. This was a government scheme to help people who were unemployed to learn some new skills or trades, so that they could become marketable again. It paid only minimum wage, but it maintained the dignity of those who were sustained by the projects.
Our bulging wall was an ideal project to work on. It took about three months to complete and involved stonemasons, builders, and local contractors. Several teams worked on tearing down, clearing out, and rebuilding the wall. When it was completed, everyone involved took great pride in what had been achieved. We had averted a collapsed wall and in its place was a better wall that witnessed to the effectiveness of the whole community project team.
When Nehemiah in the Bible set out to rebuild the walls surrounding Jerusalem, he also had to deal with adverse conditions. His local rivals were bent on destroying his efforts, and they resorted to blackmail and deceit. But Nehemiah's strength came from the Lord, and when he and his fellow workers felt weak or troubled, he prayed a simple, successful prayer: "Lord, strengthen my hands."
Today, some of us may be facing an uphill task, a serious problem, or a painful issue. We may not feel strong enough to overcome our troubles because we are weakened by worry. During times like these, we look to the Lord to help us by simply praying for the strength to endure and to overcome.
Prayer: Lord God, strengthen our hands, and give us guidance. Whatever fears we are facing or troubles that we are experiencing, keep us from collapsing, and build up our strength. Lead us through these trying times, and help us to overcome them effectively. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.