… and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
—1 Peter 3:15b
Key Verse Thought: Read the Key Verse and understand that the way to have a ready answer comes by much prayer. In this lesson, we will learn of a mighty man of prayer named Nehemiah. When the people in Jerusalem did not know what to do, Nehemiah was always ready with a word of hope and encouragement for God’s people
Emphasis: Today, we will learn that prayer is not only important for our own personal life to know what God wants us to do, but to also be an encouragement to others with a word of hope.
Lesson Summary: Zerubbabel led the first of the people back into the land of Israel. We then learned that Ezra led a second group from the land of Babylon into Israel. The Temple of the Lord had been rebuilt, but we will learn today that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates were burned. No one had begun to reinforce the city of Jerusalem.
A message of the condition of Jerusalem was delivered to a man named Nehemiah. He was the cupbearer in King Artaxerxes court. (Remember that King Artaxerxes allowed Ezra to lead a group into Israel.) When Nehemiah received the message, he immediately prayed. When the king recognized he was troubled and asked what it was, Nehemiah told the king his heart’s desire – to return to the city of Jerusalem and rebuild the walls and gates. Not only did the king send him, but gave him many supplies.
When Nehemiah returned, he surveyed the damage. He reported to the people what needed to be done. The people agreed that the walls and gates needed to be rebuilt. So, they began.
And the enemies made themselves known. Today we will learn of the many troubles the enemies caused God’s people as they rebuilt the city walls and gates – and the many times the enemies plans were thwarted because of the prayers of Nehemiah and God’s people.
Even with the threats from the enemies to come in and kill God’s people, they remained to the task of building – many with sword or spear in hand. Nevertheless, God was with them, the gates were built, and then the walls were finished in fifty-two days.
If you are teaching this to children, the following are a couple of ideas for a craft to help them remember Nehemiah:
To help us remember that Nehemiah helped rebuild the walls in gates around Jerusalem, we built a “wall with gates” out of construction paper. We then added the verses Nehemiah 6:15-16 at the top.