Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” (Nehemiah 2:1-5)
Nehemiah wasn’t ashamed to admit his fear, but he refused to allow fear to stop him from doing what God had called him to do. With little time to think, Nehemiah immediately prayed. Eight times in this book we read that he prayed spontaneously (Nehemiah 2:4; 4:4-5, 9; 5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22, 29). Nehemiah would pray at any time, even while talking with others. He knew that God is always in charge, is always present, and hears and answers every prayer. Nehemiah could confidently pray throughout the day because he had established an intimate relationship with God during times of extended prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11).
After his prayer, Nehemiah asked the king for permission to go to Judah. As soon as he got a positive answer, he began asking for additional help. Sometimes when we have needs, we hesitate to ask the right people for help because we are afraid to approach them. Not Nehemiah! He went directly to the person who could help him the most.
Is there a task you know God wants you to do, but you are being held back by fear? When we allow our fears to rule us, we make fear more powerful than God. God is greater than all your fears. Recognizing why you are afraid is the first step in committing your fears to God. Realize that if God has called you to a task, he will help you accomplish it. Ask God for the courage to do that which he has called you to do.