If you have been following the chiastic structure of Nehemiah, we have come to the end. (You’re thinking, “Wait, there are more chapters!” We’ll come to those in the next lesson.) As the first chapter revealed the future course of Nehemiah’s ministry through prayer, this corresponding bookend chapter reflects on the past course of God’s people also through prayer. Whereas the first prayer was by Nehemiah alone on behalf of the larger community, this prayer is about the whole nation of which Nehemiah is merely a part of.
Though both prayers are different in trajectory and in breadth, they both retain the elements of adoration, confession, promises, and vision (see lesson 1). Fasting is mentioned in both chapters, alluding to the sincerity of seeking God’s will. Both incorporate the Word of God, where in chapter 1, Nehemiah claims promises he knows, while in chapter 9, they “read from the book of the Lord of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day” (verse 3).
Both prayers reveal the importance of studying how God’s hand has led in history. “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord had led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 162).
Read This Week’s Passage: Nehemiah 9