(You can now listen to today’s MY Devotional on Leading The Way’s daily devotional podcast!)

Read Nehemiah 2:1-10. At the moment when God began to answer the four-month-long prayer of Nehemiah—when Nehemiah’s waiting was finally over—how do you think he responded? Nehemiah confessed that when King Artaxerxes asked him why he seemed sad (the opportunity for which he had been waiting), he was very afraid.

That’s right, Nehemiah was fearful, but there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. Anyone who claims to attempt great things for God without a sense of fear and trepidation is not being honest. Because even heroes experience fear. The difference between a coward and a hero is not that a hero feels no fear, but that a hero won’t let fear get in the way of his or her duty.

Nehemiah was afraid, but he prayed through his fear, and he obeyed God in spite of his fear. Because he had remained in an attitude of prayer for the past four months, the hotline between Nehemiah and the Lord was open, and the Lord gave Nehemiah the words he needed to make an audacious request of the king.

Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes to let him have time off to go and rebuild Jerusalem—an act that had been irrevocably prohibited by a prior king. Not only was Nehemiah asking King Artaxerxes to use his power to illegally revoke the prior order (a request for which Nehemiah could have been executed), he also asked for the king’s protection and funding for the whole project!

Where did Nehemiah get the courage to make such a bold request? It came from the Spirit of God during Nehemiah’s four months of prayer, fasting, and weeping. Nehemiah listened in prayer to receive the detailed plans for the rebuilding of the city and the temple, including the plan to have King Artaxerxes finance the reconstruction of Jerusalem.

I believe King Artaxerxes was honored by the boldness of Nehemiah’s request. In fact, I believe Nehemiah’s bold request is intended to teach us something about prayer. By asking the king to provide him with services and materials worth millions of dollars, Nehemiah acknowledged the vast scope of the king’s power and the endless extent of the king’s resources. Likewise, when we go to God with bold and audacious requests, daring to ask Him to do the impossible and to lavish His resources upon us, we actually glorify, honor, and please Him.

Prayer: Father, when You open doors of opportunity for Your Kingdom, may I have the courage of Nehemiah to step out in faith in spite of fear. Help me to remember that I cannot out-ask You so that I might come to You boldly requesting great things for Your Kingdom. As I pray, prepare me for whatever work You would have me do. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Rebuilding Our Broken Walls, Part 2: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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