Not only was Nehemiah an example of one who prayed spontaneous prayers (2:4) but he knew how to pray an effective longer prayer as well. In fact, in Nehemiah 1:5-11, we see that Nehemiah’s prayer has some similarities in its content to the “Lord’s Prayer” or “Model Prayer” of Matthew 6:9-13, including:
— It begins with praise: “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God …” (:5) (“Hallowed be Your name”)
— He prayed for the Kingdom: “Hear the prayer of Your servant … on behalf of the sons of Israel, Your servants.” (:6) (“Thy Kingdom come …”)
— It included confession: “Confessing the sins of the sons of Israel …” (:6-7) (“and forgive us our debts”)
— He prayed according to God’s will: “Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses …” (:8) (“Thy will be done”)
— He made his request: “Be attentive to the prayer of Your servant …” (:11) (“give us this day our daily bread …”)
Virtually every kind of element found in Jesus’ Model Prayer of Matthew 6 is contained in Nehemiah’s prayer for Jerusalem. While we must avoid being “legalistic” and pedantic in our praying, it is good to include in our prayers the kind of elements which Jesus taught us God wants to hear from us when we pray. Nehemiah gives us a good example in the first chapter of his book, of what using the elements of the Model Prayer can look like in practice.