By Shelagh Raymer
Director of Family Ministries
Several years ago, I heard a woman teach on the book of Nehemiah and how she had used this book of the bible to create a prayer for her grandchildren; specifically her granddaughter. I found this fascinating because during this period of my mothering life, I was about to send my baby girl 1,300km away to school in Thunder Bay. She is our baby and our first to leave home. Our two older boys stayed close to home to go to school, so her leaving was going to be tough on me. I was going to need something to cling to, something I could hold onto in order to help me let my daughter go well.
I approached the teacher and asked her for the notes and do you know what she said to me? She said, “Shelagh, you need to make this prayer your own; for your own situation, and so I leave that to you.” – What?! I’d have to work through this myself?! Although I was surprised by her response, she had perfectly articulated what I wanted to pray over my daughter as we let her go and sent her off into the world.
And so began my journey of walking through Nehemiah and praying for my child. I had prayed scripture over my children before but now it was a specific and focused prayer that arose from scriptures.
Let me share it with you…
Sweet child of mine I pray that you would:
1:8,9 – remain faithful.
1:4 – remain compassionate.
2:4 – ask God for everything – for your every need, however big or small, and for direction.
2:1-9 – find favour with those that you work with and live among because of your joy.
2:18-19 – tell others about what God has done for you even though you may be mocked.
3 – be a catalyst to anything. The entire wall was to be repaired. It was done one section at a time and it had to start somewhere.
4 – continue to work even if those around you do not support you, or even ridicule you – know that they will come and they will discourage you.
4:14 – REMEMBER THE LORD always.
4:15-23 – protect yourself and be on guard.
5 – help those around you – not just with money but to also show kindness.
6 -do not allow others to speak ill of you, discourage you, or speak wrongly of you because you have not been truthful. Always tell the truth and be honest.
Know this: 6:9 – others will try to frighten you with their words
6:11 – discernment to know the truth
6:19 – others will be jealous
7 – know your people – God’s people and your family.
8 – remember to read God’s word and pray for understanding. Sit under a teacher of God’s word so that they can explain it to you.
9 – REMEMBER what God has done for you. REMEMBER who GOD is.
9:31 – God is a gracious and merciful God. Acknowledge your sin and return to God.
10 – consider what God would have you do for Him. How will you serve His people?
11 – pray for your leaders.
12 – rejoice when you accomplish things as for the Lord and His guidance. Even SING!
13 – enter this new land without taking on their customs or ways.
REMEMBER GOD – REMEMBER Sabbath – REMEMBER to see a mate who is like you – walking in the same direction – for those foreign to GOD will cause you to sin.
As I finished this prayer, I knew I could let go. God had her. Walking through this book of Nehemiah showed me so many characteristics of Christ and how He cares for His people. The promises hidden within this text is what I could hold onto as I watched my daughter enter this new exciting experience.
Even today as I wrote this article, something amazing happened. Chapter 2:1-9 says, ‘find favour with those you work and live among because of your JOY’ was answered! My daughter received from her employers a note that said, “you rock!” followed by more words of favour! Almost 4 years after we sent her off into the world, God reminded me of His faithfulness and that the requests of a mother’s heart are important.
Now, dear reader, why not make this prayer your own – for your own situation? Just as the teacher encouraged me to do, I encourage you to work through Nehemiah as you pray intentionally for your child or grandchild.
“And so I leave that to you”…
Director of Family Ministries