Jesus dealt patiently with the disciples’ weaknesses and tendencies toward unbelief. Where many of us might give up on one another, Jesus found ways to continue leading these men into deeper spiritual lives.
During this week, we’re going to discuss the ways in which we help restore people who are failing to achieve at the level we might have hoped, how we help them find their way back to God. First of all, we need to consider the way Nehemiah acknowledged fully the flaws of God’s people, but still recognized them as God’s people, who could claim His forgiveness.
“ ‘When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “I beseech Thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open to hear the prayer of Thy servant which I am praying before Thee now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Thy servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against Thee; I and my father’s house have sinned.
“ ‘ “We have acted very corruptly against Thee and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses.
“ ‘ “Remember the word which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’
“ ‘ “And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand” ’ ” (Neh. 1:4-10, NASB).
1. What details seem important in this prayer?
2. How can we allow these details to shape our prayer lives: For ourselves? For
3. Have you ever confessed on behalf of another or others? What was the result?