By Rev. Shawn Dewey
The news from the homeland left him in great despair. His brother had just relayed to him that the remnant of people in his beloved city of Jerusalem remained in tremendous trouble. History told him that some seventy years prior a group of exiles were given the permission to return to their precious native soil of Israel and in the process were able to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Even as recently as the last thirteen years a second group led by a man named Ezra, who had dedicated himself to the Law of the Lord God, brought with him reforms for the people, but still the walls of the city lay in desolation and its city gates scarred from previous invasion.
Overcome with a broken heart, Nehemiah, a cupbearer to the present king of Persia, sat and mourned, praying for God’s refreshing intervention.
To Nehemiah, the lack of a city wall not only portrayed the shame of the nation because of its consequences politically and economically, but also resonated with the spiritual life of the city inhabitants. The ruined wall visible every day to every inhabitant was a solemn reminder of just how far they had fallen from God.
Moving forward I ask personally what spiritual walls of your life are in disrepair? What crisis presently has you in ruin? And looking even into wider circles like Nehemiah is your heart hurting for our neighborhoods, city, and region?
I believe that when we allow the walls of our heart to crumble and deteriorate spiritually, than we can expect the walls of our families, neighborhoods, cities, churches, and nation to fall as well. None of this happens in any one specific moment you see, but over time like the decay of rust on untreated steel.
For the past year God has been breaking my heart for what breaks His. It is our Redeemer who is opening my eyes in new ways to the shattered walls of not only those lives I encounter personally, but also to the requirement for our Lord God’s renewal and awakening that stretches past cultural, political, social, economic, or denominational barriers throughout the streets of Buffalo and our WNY region.
As I seek a solution of application I look back again toward the transformational leader Nehemiah. He never performed any physical act without first seeking God’s spiritual mission through prayer. Even Jesus modeled a lifestyle of prayer often withdrawing to quiet places among His busyness of ministry to capture the Father’s heart before pressing onward. If prayer became the object of priority then why is it not ours?
The essence of prayer is to respond in communication to our Father God who is in constant conversation with us. Our prayer life can be witnessed in various stances and styles, but in short I often experience prayer through methods of praise, intercession, and simply listening to his still voice.
God reminds us as He did thousands of years prior to King Solomon, that when His children seek Him humbly, praying and confessing the brokenness of our lives, then God who always hears will indeed forgive and heal our lives and land. (Reference to 2 Chronicles 7:14). This message is still very relevant today, because of the stories of people, cities, and a world living in need of our Lord’s physical and spiritual, present and eternal healing both individually and corporately.
The result of prayer in action that I am now witnessing is that as we sit at His feet in intercession, God will respond to us with His mission often making us the answer to our very prayers. As God spoke through Isaiah, He is seeking those who will rebuild the ruins and raise up the age-old foundations and be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. (Reference Isaiah 58:12)
Lately I am apart of a ministry called the Prayer Collective. You can read more about us on our website www.prayercollective.com.
The heart of the Prayer Collective is to humbly seek God with a united heart through praise and intercession to witness God’s awakening for the personal lives of this city of Buffalo along with its surrounding region of Western New York. The Prayer Collective’s mission is to network with others and other ministers for the purpose of engaging those we encounter in our world for God’s glory and Kingdom growth. Through this we expect to experience a birth of community that sheds barriers and finds intimate oneness of communion around the cross of Christ.
Will you consider rising up and joining us of the Prayer Collective where God plants you in order to become the answer of your prayer. Will you arise and pray for your home and family? Will you arise and pray for your neighborhood? Will you arise and pray for the city of Buffalo? Will you arise and pray for WNY? Will you be the response of God to those around you?
Consider the harvest for as Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, what might God do with a united group of prayer intercessors today? Arise Church!
Shawn is an ordained pastor through the Wesleyan Denomination with a heart for witnessing God’s awakening throughout the city of Buffalo and WNY region. His ministry involvement spans thirty years of various rich experiences while balancing a career in the manufacturing business as both an office manager and owner for twenty-six years. Shawn is a graduate of Bethel Seminary and enjoys hiking the outdoors and participating in team sports such baseball and hockey.
Shawn has been married to Susan for thirty-one wonderful years. Together they have been blessed with three children, a great son-in-law, and two fun loving grandchildren.