Clean Air

“Breathe on me, breathe on me,Holy Spirit, breathe on meTake thou my heart, cleanse ev’ry part,Holy Spirit, breathe on me.” — Edwin Hatch

God’s people breathe cleaner air. And they’re healthier because of it. That’s what Nehemiah learned while he and a handful of Israelites rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in fifty-two days.

Nehemiah’s enemies were relentless in their hostility. They tried numerous means to destroy the work. On one occasion their enemies “plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it” (Nehemiah 4:8).

It would have been a simple task but their conspiracy was their undoing. To conspire means literally to breathe together. And these enemies of God breathed each other’s anger. If you’ve ever been in a stuffy meeting room, you know how thick the air can get. That’s what happened in the spirits of the enemies. They breathed foul air and couldn’t think straight.

But that’s not why they failed. Notice Nehemiah’s comment is contrast with the enemy’s activity: “But we prayed” (v. 9).

Praying allowed the people to have a fresh insight, to make a wise decision, and let Nehemiah lead effectively. There was plenty of fresh air from above in their “vertical conspiracy.” The result was to “post a guard” as a response and thus thwart the plans of the enemy. Our daily breath dare not be amongst ourselves lest the air become stale with our own ideas and prejudices. It would only take one contemptuous soul to foul our thinking.

We must ever be praying — breathing vertically — if we are to have any wisdomfrom above.

Lord, teach me to breathe Your words in prayer. Teach me fresh conversation with You as something to be prized above all else. Thank You for hearing me and answering me.

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