“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)
A friend of mine is one of the happiest guys I know. Maybe it’s because he lives in Hawaii, where he is a pastor. He’s always smiling, always joyful, and always upbeat. In fact, when he isn’t smiling, he looks different. He actually smiles that much.
That’s how I imagine Nehemiah, a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah’s job was to taste the king’s food before the king ate it. Because the cupbearer was required to be in close proximity to the king, he often became more than someone who tasted the food. In time, he would become the king’s confidant, adviser, and friend.
Nehemiah was a Jew who was in a position of great influence with the king. But one day he was feeling a bit down. He was thinking about the plight of his fellow Jews in Jerusalem and how the walls of the city lay in ruins.
Like my friend, Nehemiah must have been always happy and upbeat, because the king noticed that he looked miserable. He asked, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled” (Nehemiah 2:2).
So Nehemiah told the king about the plight of his people, and the king asked how he could help. I love what Nehemiah did next. The Bible tells us that “with a prayer to the God of heaven, [Nehemiah] replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried’ ” (verses 4–5).
Sometimes we have the luxury of time in prayer. But sometimes we can only send up a quick prayer to the God of heaven. I have seen the Lord answer those prayers. We can pray all the time, everywhere.