“—–when I heard these words— I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven!”–Nehemiah 1:4
Tears were not all. Nehemiah also carried the burden to God in prayer. He did this before he took any step himself for the relief of the suffering, and the advancement of his work. Compassion is Christlike; but tears alone are not enough. This is a lesson we should not forget in our compassion for others: God cares more for them than we do, and his compassion is deeper than ours; we may, therefore, be sure of interest upon His part—when we speak the names of our friends in His ear. Besides, He knows best how to help. We should take the burden to Him first—and then be ready to do whatever He may tell us to do.
The best way for us to help others—usually is to PRAY for them. Of course praying is not all we should do; Nehemiah did not stop with tears and prayers. He gave himself to the work in behalf of his people. He left his luxurious palace, and journeyed away to Jerusalem, and took earnest hold with both hands, giving all his energy and influence to the cause.
Likewise, more than tears and prayers are needed; there is something for us to DO. Many people can weep over distress, and then pray fervently for the relief that is needed—but never DO anything themselves! Nehemiah’s way is better: sympathy, prayer, work. This makes a threefold cord which cannot be broken!–J. R. Miller, 1865