One day when Nehemiah was mourning over the broken down walls of Jerusalem, and was looking quite despondent in front of the king, the king asked him why he was sad. Though he was dreadfully afraid to say anything, he found the courage to tell him about the condition of the walls.
When the king asked Nehemiah what he requested of him, his first response was to pray; Nehemiah 2:4 says he “prayed to the God of heaven.” I don’t think this was a prayer of more than two or three words, like, “Lord, help me.” Or perhaps it was more of an attitude of his heart. Nonetheless, I’m sure we can understand the situation Nehemiah was in. He was faced with having to give an immediate answer to the king, and he wanted the answer to be truthful and direct, yet with grace—since he was the king. So with this great task before him he shot up to God a quick, silent prayer for help.
Well, God answered Nehemiah’s prayer, for Nehemiah was quite direct and yet graceful in his request of the king. “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight,” he said, “I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it” (Neh. 2:5).
Not only did the king let him go, but he sent with him letters of permission, as well as building materials, and army captains and horsemen to protect him on the journey!