Characteristics of Prayerful Leaders

Steve Viars April 19, 2018 Nehemiah 2:1-10

3 traits of men and women God uses to build His kingdom and further His will

I. Prayerful Leaders are Patient

A. An important chronological detail

1:1 - …the month Chislev, in the twentieth year…

2:1 - …the month Nisan, in the twentieth year…

1:11 - O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man…

B. What this tells us about the way the Lord answers prayer

Sometimes God says yes, sometimes God say no, and sometimes God says wait

C. God wants us to grow in patience and He makes such a lifestyle possible

Hebrews 6:12 - So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises…

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…

D. What is the relationship of this to the leadership process?

“Three statements in Scripture have a calming effect on me whenever I get nervous and want to rush ahead of the Lord. “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13), “Sit still…until you know how the matter will turn out (Ruth 3:18 NJKV) and “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When you wait on the Lord in prayer, you are not wasting your time, you are investing it. God is preparing both you and your circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished. However, when the right time arrives for us to act by faith, we dare not delay.” (Warren Wiersbe, commentary on Nehemiah)

E. Relationship to prayer

John 13:23 - “…Truly, truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in my name, He will give it to you.”

F. An opportunity to grow in Christlikeness

Matthew 14:23 - After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

John 7:8 - Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.

II. Prayerful Leaders are Bold

A. Even in the midst of fear – v. 2

2:2 - …then I was very much afraid.

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it

B. Where the focus is on honoring God and serving others – v. 3

v.3 - I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”

John 2:17 - His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

C. Bathed in prayer, even if sometimes it is done quickly – v. 4

Nehemiah 2:4 - Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

D. Motivates us to make God-sized requests – v. 5

Nehemiah 2:5 - I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

1. Asking the king to release him from his responsibilities

Nehemiah 2:6 - Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, “How long will your journey be, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.

2. Asking the king to overturn his own decree

Ezra 4:7-8 - And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia…a letter against Jerusalem…

Ezra 4:11-13 - …“To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the men in the region beyond the River, and now let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are rebuilding the rebellious and evil city and are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings…”

Ezra 4:21 - “So, now issue a decree to make these men stop work, that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by me.

3. Asking the king to support the development of a potential rebellious and/or rival nation

Ezra 4:14-16 - Now because we are in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the River.

E. Allows us to pray like our Savior

John 17:13 - But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

John 17:15 - I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

John 17:20-21 - I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Proverbs 21:1 - The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

III. Prayerful Leaders are Ready

A. He thought through the time

v. 6 - …so it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time…

B. He thought through the steps

v. 8 - …and the king granted them to me, because the good hand of my God was upon me.

Luke 16:10 - He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video