Nehemiah 9:3—And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
After celebrating the Feast of Booths, the people gathered again to hear the Word read to them and to finish confessing their sins. The prayer in Nehemiah 9 is a summary of the history of Israel. It begins with recognizing God for His greatness, that He is the Creator, and that all things come from Him. They continued with their own history of being called by God and delivered from Egypt, kept and fed in the wilderness, and given God’s directions for living, for their own good. Yet they refused to listen. They recounted their forefathers’ evil deeds of idolatry and turning their back on God. Still, God helped them conquer their enemies, yet with recognition of their ungrateful response to all that He had done.
In the midst of abundance and prosperity, they again turned from God, ignored the prophets’ warnings, and rebelled against God. God allowed enemies to conquer them and hardship to overtake them. Finally they turned back to God. This cycle continued until they were taken into captivity. All through the prayer, they extolled the wonderful attributes of God’s mercy, grace, love and justice.
We could pray a similar prayer. May I suggest to you that you write out a prayer acknowledging all that God has done in your life and how you have responded? Don’t forget to fill it with the attributes of God’s mercy, grace, love and justice. If you need ideas, read Nehemiah 9. It seems the heart of man never changes. When we have an abundance of blessing, we turn from God and go our own way until the hard times are allowed to return. Then we ask God, “Why?” Only when we surrender to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit will we break this cycle, so that the LORD can bless us and yet our hearts remain steadfast in true worship.