The enemy coalition panicked when they saw that the walls around Jerusalem were almost finished.  They sent for Nehemiah to meet with them but Nehemiah refused to abandon the project for any reason. Sanballat and Geshem sent messages to Nehemiah four times to come to meet with them but Nehemiah said, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” He also knew that they, along with Tobiah and the rest of his enemies, were plotting against him. What did Nehemiah do? He prayed.  “For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done. But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

If it wasn’t enough stress having outsiders against him, some of his own people opposed  him and sided with his enemies. One of those was a prophet who prophesied his death if he did not desert his mission and run and hide from his enemies. But Nehemiah saw through his ploy and said, “…And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, ?but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid…” What did Nehemiah do? He prayed. “Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also ?the… the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.”

Prayer should be our first recourse also as we face increasing opposition from those outside the faith and even those professing to be Christians. On April 9, 1996, in an address that gained national attention, Antonin Scalia spoke at the Mississippi College Law School. Pointing out that the word “cretin,” or “fool” is derived from the French word for “Christian,”? he continued: “Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. … We are fools for Christ’s sake. … We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world.”

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)