Praying Through God's Word: Ezra
"Rebuild the House of the Lord" (Ezra 1:3). This, Lord, is what You're calling us to do. Who are You calling? Is it just a few 'special' people? - No! It's "all those whose spirits God had moved" (Ezra 1:5). Help us, Lord, never to say, "There's nothing for me to do." There's always something we can do. Help us to open our hearts to You, to lay our lives before You, and to do the work that You give us to do for You.
At the heart of Your work, Lord, there is worship - "praising and giving thanks to the Lord" (Ezra 3:11). Help us to see the importance of worship. Nothing can take the place of worship. Where would we be without worship? Could we even begin to serve You? Help us, Lord, to come to You, with this heartfelt prayer: "I will worship You with all of my heart ... with all of my mind ... with all of my strength" (Jude Del Hierro).
Sometimes, Lord, we're so busy, looking at the opposition that we fail to see the opportunity. Sometimes, the opposition can have some success - "the work on the House of God came to a standstill" (Ezra 4:24). Whenever Satan attacks Your work, You raise up Your servants to keep the work going: "Zerubbabel ... arose and began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:2). When our heads go down, You will lift them up - and Your work will go on.
Lord, Your work makes good progress when Your people receive strength from Your Word. It's Your Word that inspires us to keep on working for You. Your House is rebuilt, and Your people rejoice (Ezra 6:14-16). Help us, Lord, to turn, often - again and again - to Your Word. May Your Word lead us in the pathway of joyful obedience.
Lord, the return of Your people to Jerusalem was more than a geographical return. It was a spiritual return. Help us to return to You - and to seek Your blessing (Ezra 8:21). Without Your blessing, we are nothing. Help us to hold on to Your promise: "The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek Him" (Ezra 8:22).
Lord, the return of Your blessing comes with a real confession of our sin - "Our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens" (Ezra 9:6), You don't bless us because we deserve to be blessed. You bless us because You love us. This is where Your blessing comes from. It comes from Your love. Despite all of our sin, You encourage us to believe that You may yet "grant us some reviving to set up the House of our God" (Ezra 9:8-9).