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Nehemiah’s Prayer

“Remember me, O my God, for good” (Nehemiah 13:31).

Nehemiah was emphatically a man of prayer. In every trouble, in each anxiety, in all times of danger, he turned to God. Standing behind the king’s chair, Nehemiah prayed; in his private room in the Shushan palace, he pleaded for Jerusalem; and all through his rough, anxious life as a reformer and a governor, we find him constantly lifting up his heart to God in short, earnest prayers.

There was one prayer of which he seems to have been especially fond, for three times Nehemiah asks God to remember him. “Think upon me, my God, for good” (5:19). “Remember me, O my God” (13:14). “Remember me, O my God, for good” (13:31).

Can it be that this prayer was suggested to him by the words of his friend, the prophet Malachi? Can it be, that as he and Nehemiah spoke together of the Lord they loved, Malachi may have spoken these beautiful words in order to cheer and encourage his disheartened and unappreciated friend? “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:16,17).

Can we wonder that Nehemiah longed to know that his name was in that book of remembrance, and that he often turned the desire into a prayer, pleading with God, “Remember me, O my God”? It is a very touching prayer. Look carefully at the wording of it, and you will notice that it is humble in every detail. Nehemiah does not say, “Publish to the world my good deeds.” He simply says, “Wipe them not out.” He does not say, “Reward me,” but, “Remember me.”

Nehemiah passes away from our sight with that prayer on his lips: “Remember me, O my God, for good.” And was the prayer heard? Was Nehemiah remembered? Surely he was, for “the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance” (Psalm 112:6).

The day is coming when those of us whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27) shall see Nehemiah. In God’s great day of reward, when one after another of His faithful servants appear before Him, we shall hear the Lord proclaim to him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

—From The King’s Cupbearer by O.F. Walton.