Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah–a Man with a Burden and a Man of Prayer

Nehemiah was the leader whom God used to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. A study on his life will help us understand how to be an effective leader.

First of all, Nehemiah was a man with a burden in his heart. As the Book of Nehemiah opens, we find Nehemiah weeping as he heard the report about the walls of Jerusalem being broken down. This was the city where the Temple of God once stood. This was where prayers where offered to God. But now because of the sins of God’s people, God had allowed enemies to destroy it.

Nehemiah was one person among many others who was carried into exile to a foreign land at that time. And when he heard about the destruction of Jerusalem he broke down and wept. This was because he was concerned about what concerned God. A leader is one whose heart has a burden for what God is concerned about.

During Nehemiah’s time, God wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. God was able to act through Nehemiah because Nehemiah had the same concern God had about Jerusalem. Today, God is concerned about people who have not heard the good news of Jesus Christ. A Christian leader therefore is one who has a concern to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.

Secondly, Nehemiah was a man of prayer. Even though he held a position close to the king, he did not neglect praying to God. He spent time in mourning and fasting and praying before God. In other words, he spent much time in prayer in secret. Therefore he found favour in the eyes of the king when he made a request to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls.

A Christian leader is a person who spends much time in prayer. He finds time even during his busy schedules to pray and talk to God. This is what Jesus also asked us to do. In the Sermon on the Mount he said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 NIV).

In the same manner, we find that Nehemiah’s life and work are full of prayers. Some of them are on-the-spot prayers, very quick and brief. But God gave answers to all of them. Some Bible Teachers call these prayers, “arrow prayers” of Nehemiah. They are shot to the throne of God whenever he faced a crisis. But we need to note that Nehemiah had absolute confidence that God would answer these prayers because he had spent much time with God in secret prayer.

To conclude, let me remind you two valuable lessons on leadership you learn from Nehemiah. A leader is one who shares God’s concern for people. Again, a leader is one who spends much time in prayer especially in secret

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