Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God… – Nehemiah 4:9
The text begins with a long word, “nevertheless.” If we pull it to pieces, we get three words, never the less; when certain things happen, we will pray never the less; on the contrary, we will cry to our God all the more. Sanballat sneered; but we prayed never the less, but all the more because of his sneers. Tobiah uttered a cutting jest; but we prayed never the less, but all the more because of his mocking taunt. If men make a jest of your religion, pray none the less. If they even become cruel and violent to you, pray none the less; never the less, not a word less, not a syllable less, not a desire less, and not any faith less. What are your difficulties, dear friend, in coming to the mercy seat? What hindrance lies in your way? Let nothing obstruct your approach to the throne of grace. Turn all stumbling-stones into stepping-stones; and come, with holy boldness, and say, notwithstanding all opposition, “never the less, we made our prayer unto our God.” Nehemiah’s prayer meant business, and overcame difficulties.
It does not say that Nehemiah set a watch, and then prayed; but “nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch.” Prayer must always be the fore horse of the team. Do whatever else is wise, but not until thou hast prayed. Send for the physician if thou art sick; but first pray. Take the medicine if thou hast a belief that it will do thee good; but first pray. Go and talk to the man who has slandered you, if you think you ought to do so; but first pray. “Well, I am going to do so and so,” says one, “and I shall pray for a blessing on it afterwards.” Do not begin it until you have prayed. Begin, continue, and end everything with prayer; but especially begin with prayer… Go nowhere where you cannot go after prayer. This would often be a good guide in your choice of where you should go. Nehemiah first prayed, and then set a watch. ~ C.H. Spurgeon