BACKGROUND TO THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
The Book of Nehemiah is an important one for Christian Leadership. Much of the model of leadership on which this web-site is based is found in Nehemiah : the origin of vision through prayer, the need to share vision, and enable and empower others to become involved in making it happen, and the need to maintain leadership through periods of conflict and opposition. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the Persian emperor, Artaxerxes. This was a significant position of trust, for a member of a Jewish minority in the Persian court. Nehemiah would have established personal credibility in his character to receive such an appointment, and together with the job would come prestige and significance. Over 140 years have passed since the sacking of Jerusalem by the conquering Babylonians, and generations of Jews have been in exile.
VISION AND CALLING : Read Nehemiah 1.
As Nehemiah learns of the state of Jerusalem and of the remnant of the Jewish people living there, it clearly has a profound effect, moving him to a period of fasting and prayer. Out of this prayer Nehemiah senses a clear calling and vision, identifying with the Jewish people and confessing their failure to follow God's guidance. Nehemiah is clear that he is intrinsically linked with God's answer to the prayer he has prayed.
Pause for Thought :
What part has prayer played in the times of vision and calling that you have encountered?
Can you think of times when God has used you as a part of the answer to prayers you have prayed. To find out more about vision development, explore our vision building process.
SHARING VISION : Read Nehemiah 2.
Nehemiah shares his vision with Artaxerxes, having carefully created an opening. Notice the immediate prayer of Nehemiah as the door of opportunity opens in verse 4. The result of sharing the vision in a non-threatening way is positive and Artaxerxes is supportive, agreeing to the requests for letters and allocating troops to go...