3 O'clock




What is it you want?


Nehemiah 2:4-6:


“The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.”


As I read these verses of Scripture today, the Holy Spirit began to have a conversation with me.  His first question to me,


                                                               “What is it you want?” 


Funny thing, just the other day hubby and I were driving and talking about life.  You know, questions like, “what do we do now?” “where do we want to spend the rest of our lives?” “how will we do this or that” kind of questions.  My answer to hubby, and now to the Holy Spirit were the same.  


                                                                    “I really don’t know.”


I know the story of Nehemiah as it is probably my favorite book in the entire Bible.  When God called me to pray more than seven years ago, I spent many, many weeks studying Nehemiah.  It seemed as if God were bringing it to my attention at every turn.  Every church I visited and every radio study I heard when I got in my car seemed to be about Nehemiah.   Now, here I am again. Only this time, the Holy Spirit was not revealing history to me.  I wasn’t learning about culture and the times of Nehemiah.  I wasn’t cross referencing Bible Scriptures or looking up the original Hebrew on the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I think I must have actually been stunned because He gently put the question to me again as I sat perplexed, and no doubt dumbfounded, by the question:   


                                                                     “What is it you want?”


Friends, when the Spirit asks this question, it is not a question one should take lightly. I did not know how to answer so I gave the answer I thought He wanted to hear:


“I want to be closer to God.  I want Him to speak to me. I want to hear His voice and for Him to use me for His glory that He will be glorified in my life. ”


And while all these things in my heart are true, instantly I knew the Holy Spirit was really not requiring I answer the question directly.  I needed to search inside myself and be specific.  If I truly wanted God to use me for His glory, what did that look like?  What did that mean?


In the previous chapter of Nehemiah, chapter one, we read Nehemiah had received bad news concerning Judah and the children of Israel.  The situation looked bad and Nehemiah desperately wanted to do something about it.  His heart ached for his people and the only way he could help was to go to the king and ask for it.  Nehemiah first went to God.  The very last thing he prayed was,


“Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”    


Nehemiah was clear on what he wanted God to do and he asked specifically for …’favor with the king’.   He believed God would answer and provide the right opportunity.  He started planning.


                                                     “What is it you want?”


Like Nehemiah, and probably many of you reading this, I want the favor of God in this life, the one I am living right now.  I want His blessings in a tangible way.  Of course, I look forward to heaven.  Of course, I know we will have trials on this earth.  Of course, I know His grace is sufficient for me.  BUT the Holy Spirit of my Heavenly Father was asking me a direct question.  A question I needed to think about and pray about.  And answer carefully with much forethought.       


Nehemiah Chapter two tells us several months later, while in the presence of the king, Nehemiah looked sad.  The king asked him why he looked so deeply troubled.  Nehemiah knew God had granted him his request but he was “terrified”.   He managed the courage to speak and began telling the king about the condition of Judah and his countrymen.  The king was favorable to him and asked, “What is it you want?” 

With a prayer to the God of heaven,” Nehemiah began telling the king his story.  He had been seeking the Lord for months previous to this encounter with the king.  He had come up with a plan but right before he makes his requests known to the king, Nehemiah says a little prayer to God.  We have no idea what it was, Scriptures do not say.  Perhaps it was for courage as we read in the previous verse, “Then I was terrified”.  Perhaps it was for God to help him remember all the things he would need for his trip.  After all, he didn’t pull a list of things out of his pocket and start checking them off. 


I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to think deep and hard about His question “what is it you want”.   What is it that I really should be praying for?  When the Lord calls us to search our hearts for what it is we really want, we must begin the search.  It may take a while.  It may not.  I call this committed prayer.   Once we determine what it is, we need to prayerfully come up with a plan in order to implement it in our lives.  Once we know what it is we want, we make a plan, just like Nehemiah did.  It may take months or even longer to come to fruition.  This is because of God’s perfect timing.  Yes, I am going to say it now.  We MUST WAIT UPON THE LORD!!!  I cannot stress this enough. 


As children of the most High God, we know God is orchestrating our lives.  Not just ours, but others as well.  He provided just the right time for Nehemiah to present his proposal to the king.  Once we are ready--which entails knowing what it is we want and having a plan--God will present the opportunity.  He will open doors no man can shut.  When he does, let us be ready!


Always loving our Lord,


Lori Hutchinson Robbins  

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