Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The history of Judah tells the sad tale of a people loved by God who did not love God in return. The result, as forecast by Jeremiah, was seventy years of bondage in Babylon. At the end of the seventy years, Cyrus king of Persia became sympathetic to the plight of the Jews in his homeland and allowed them to return to their homeland. They returned in three waves: first, led by Zerubbabel, a group returned to begin repopulating Jerusalem; second, led by Ezra, a group returned to rebuild the ransacked temple; third, led by Nehemiah, a group returned to rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem.

What is interesting, and poignant for our day, is the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah that led to a spiritual revival in Judah. The revival in Jerusalem wasn't just one of architectural reconstruction for the spiritual life of the nation was also being reconstructed through the spiritual leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.

When you get some time, read Ezra 9 and 10, Nehemiah 1, and Nehemiah 8 & 9. Those chapters comprise a powerful testimony for the potential of the people of God when godly leaders pray. The revival in Judah was born of the prayers of Ezra and Nehemiah and their determination to call people back to God.

Perhaps the apostles were influenced by the stories of the prayer life of Ezra and Nehemiah. When a dilemma arises in Acts 6 over the neglect of the first church to care for the needs of the Grecian widows, the apostles called on the church to identify seven men to care for the need so that the apostles could "give our attention to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6.5). The result? "...the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly" (Acts 6.7).

Growth without and revival within is clearly born from the prayers of God's people, especially those placed in positions of leadership among God's people.