Most people can’t fathom standing in reverence of God for six hours. It’s a tough thing to do, but it also can be one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can ever have. During missions training, we spent hours at a time sometimes praying for others and singing praise and worship songs. I’m not saying it was easy. I’m saying it was fulfilling. I’m also saying I haven’t done it in a long time, and I do so miss those times. I’m imagining the hearts of the Israelites as they stood in mourning and celebration. I hope they felt as full as mine did during those times I was surrounded by dozens and sometimes hundreds of others not caring one iota about who was watching as we lifted our hands together and swayed and danced and praised God. I often experience a wave of laughter through tears when I allow myself to let go and just let God … .
When we do allow ourselves to just be with God for a bit, He is good to respond, just like the prayer in this chapter highlights. Man, it’s like a prayer and a history lesson all in one! I wrote in orange beside it “The Play within the Play” because it reminded me of the way Shakespeare is famous for giving some background to the story through a play that often takes place as some sort of entertainment during the actual story. That probably doesn’t even make sense. But Nehemiah gives us a good example. While we are reading his story about the Israelites completion of the wall, he gives us, through a prayer, the entire background and journey of the Israelites before them. It’s clever and super beautiful all at once. It also allows us to see the repetitive cycle of sin and forgiveness that ultimately leads to Jesus.
Writing prompt: six hours
Stand on your feet and write for six hours today. Jk. I mean, you can if you want, but how about just trying to be present with God for six hours today … or if it’s close to bed time, tomorrow? But do it. You don’t have to stand on your feet. You don’t have to write constantly for six hours. Just be present. Set a timer and try it. Ask God before you start to keep prompting you to pay attention to him for six whole hours. Put on some worship music or a funky Christian radio station, and take God with you to wash the stupid dishes and fold that humongous pile of laundry. Praise him that you have a toilet to clean and a garage to sweep. Take a prayer walk. Then write. Write how it felt. Write your experience. Write about your six hours with God.