This series focuses on praying for our Native American brothers and sisters, particularly those living on reservations.
[These devotions come from Jesus Culture's "Faith for Your City" Devotion Series with some alterations]
Need to start at the beginning? Read Week 1 here.
Read: Nehemiah 2
And I told them how God had been with me and helped me, and what the emperor had said to me. They responded, "Let's start rebuilding!" And they got ready to start the work. (Nehemiah 2:18)
When Nehemiah heard that his home city of Jerusalem was destroyed, it grieved him deeply. Imagine hearing that the place where you once lived, your neighborhood, was destroyed, and the people lefy there were without protection.Nehemiah was inspired by God to have a heart for his city, and with boldness he stepped into God's vision to rebuild. (Nehemiah 2:12)
With our Native brothers and sisters, we are not rebuilding a city. We, instead, are rebuilding a community and a relationship. Most Native people you meet today, on a reservation or in a large city, are generations removed from their homeland. (There are a few exceptions, mostly on the west coast.) Their great-great-grandparents (give or take a "great") walked the Trail of Tears, The Long Walk, The Trail of Death, or any number of unnamed Indian removals.
Moved to unfamiliar reservations, pieces of desolate and remote land no one wanted, communities worked together to survive. But blow after blow, led to a breakdown in the family and the community.
There was a time when Native peoples were open to and accepted Christianity. There are stories of the Cherokee singing Christian hymns as they were marched out of their land. But when those in charge strayed from God's Word and caused harm - most pronounced through residential schools and its accompanying forced assimilation - Native groups began to actively deny the "white man's religion."
Our job is to rekindle the relationship with the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, through the truth we find in God's Word.
It only takes one small spark to light a wildfire. One person with a vision. In the case of Nehemiah, he presented his plan to the city officials, rallied the people to help achieve the mission, and set to work. Because of God's grace and their unity, the people, grounded in faith and surrounded in prayer, completed the city walls in record time - only 52 days!
How much could be done on the reservations if we band together, grounded in faith and surrounded in prayer!
Let's pray God will stir our hearts for the reservations and we will heed his call to repair the damage to its "walls."
Jesus, help me to see your heart and your vision for [my reservation/city]. Help me to not only understand your task for me but to be able to encourage and support others in this same work. Give us favor as we work to transform the lives of Native people.