Tuesday, September 27, 2005



SEPTEMBER 28, 2005

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when the
wine was in my charge, I took some and offered it to the king. As I had
never before been sad in his presence, the king asked me, "Why do you
look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart." Though I was
seized with great fear, I answered the king: "May the king live
forever! How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are
buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?" The
king asked me, "What is it, then, that you wish?" I prayed to the God
of heaven and then answered the king: "If it please the king, and if
your servant is deserving of your favor, send me to Judah, to the city
of my ancestors' graves, to rebuild it." Then the king, and the queen
seated beside him, asked me how long my journey would take and when I
would return. I set a date that was acceptable to him, and the king
agreed that I might go. I asked the king further: "If it please the
king, let letters be given to me for the governors of
West-of-Euphrates, that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive
in Judah; also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park, that
he may give me wood for timbering the gates of the temple-citadel and
for the city wall and the house that I shall occupy." The king granted
my requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

LUKE 9:57-62
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone
said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man
has nowhere to rest his head." And to another he said, "Follow me." But
he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered
him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the
Kingdom of God." And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first
let me say farewell to my family at home." Jesus answered him, "No one
who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit
for the Kingdom of God."

Nehemiah held an official position in the court of Ataxerxes, King of
Persia. He may have been the king's chief wine merchant and head wine
waiter. Nehemiah desired to go down to Jerusalem and there to help his
people rebuild the Temple and the city. He was deeply anxious however
that the king's anger might be stirred up, should he request a leave of
absence from his job at court.

Nehemiah prayed over the matter for several months, urging the Lord to
be propitious to his desire to rebuild Jerusalem. Then, trembling (for
absolute monarchs normally give absolute freedom to violent emotions
that rise within them), he asked for a leave of absence to go to his
ancestral city to help rebuild it and its Temple. The Lord heard his
prayer and granted his request.

Nehemiah must have been a man of prayer. He seems to turn to it
instinctively, speaking with the Lord as though in an intimate
conversation with him. Nehemiah does not give expression to the fear
that surely must have gripped him at that moment. There is only the
simply request, "I be well received by the king."

It's possible that Nehemiah's prayer used no words. Perhaps he simply
opened his heart to God, knowing that neither his thoughts nor his
emotions were hidden to him. God would read there his fear of what
might happen, his unquestioning trust that God would mercifully protect
him. And God heard Nehemiah's prayer. The king granted his request.

The periodical, Bible Alive, commenting on our passage from Nehemiah,
cites an unnamed `wise teacher' in regard to prayer: "Pray as you can,
and not as you can't." We might remember this suggestion when we find
prayer difficult. It may be that we are allowing too many rules and
regulations to hinder our prayer. It may be we will find prayer
difficult even when we pray as we can. But the odds are that it will
be a far deeper prayer experience than if we were trying to
pray as we can't.

"Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my
understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess
you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of
according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace - with
these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more." (Prayer of
Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556)

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery of Annika Nadine Uy.
- for the speedy recovery of Cherie Gillian J. Wee
- for the enlightenment and special intentions of Vincent Gregory L. Sy

- for the enlightenment and spiritual guidance of J.C.
- for the good health of Elsa, Paolo & Renie
- for the eternal repose of the souls of Cristina, Rosvie & Aljohn.
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
- for the personal intentions of Veronica Yap.
- for the speedy recovery and well-being of Vanessa Nicole Lee Lim.
- for the personal intentions of RDVR.
- Birthday: Hector Aguilar
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Rebecca Lim Siu Cheng
- Wedding Anniversary: Benjamin & Michelle Lynette Yu Jones
- In Memoriam: Tofu
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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