The Thrilling Bible Story of Practical Prayer

By a Hidden Hero: Not David, Daniel, Jesus, or Paul

When Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he prayed for four months, and then rebuilt the wall in less than two months.

This isn’t immediately obvious. 

Because Nehemiah calls the months by their Jewish names, it’s easy to overlook that the time from Chisleu to Nisan was the time from, roughly, November to March.

Nehemiah prayed four months, and then rebuilt the wall in only 52 days. 

Such a great story! But how easy to miss! 

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Life-Changing Truth

Any time spent in the scriptures has the potential for life transformation. 

The Prince Protects His City goes through the entire book of Nehemiah. 

What makes this book important?

When author Amy Lykosh first started to focus on prayer, she spent months in Nehemiah, researching verse by verse, trying to make the story as clear as possible. 

What did Nehemiah pray? What is the basic story? What was happening historically? How did Nehemiah remain dedicated to his task? How does the book of Ezra relate?

What she found thrilled her.

His Prayers Are So Normal!

When you read through Nehemiah’s story, he prays constantly:

    • Four months of earnest intercession for all the people: “Grant me mercy in the sight of my master.”
    • Prayers of protection for beloved Jerusalem against the enemy: “Hear, O our God, for we are despised.”
    • Corporate prayers before work: “We made our prayer unto our God. Then set a watch against them day and night.”
    • Prayers for personal steadfastness in the face of malice: “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
    • Prayers for justice: “Remember the works” of those who stood against him.
    • Plaintive pleas that God has been paying attention to his specific actions: “Think upon me, my God, for good.”

His prayers sound so normal! No unusual words or images that need additional explanation.

Just simple statements that any of us might make.

I finished reading it today! Loved it. Such a nice quick pace to read Nehemiah and also space to sit in parts if I just wanted to read one page.
—Angela G.

And He Himself Is So Relatable (Mostly)

Nehemiah is not David. 

David strides through the pages of the Old Testament as a larger-than-life character. The high king, the greatest poet, the most successful general, the man after God’s own heart. 

He’s like a combination of Richard the Lionhearted, Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, and Mother Teresa. 

Which is both amazing … and completely unrelatable. 

Nehemiah comes to us on a more human scale. 

Sort of. 

He wasn’t a warrior or a king … but he was a tremendous administrator, a gifted leader, a world-class historian, a treasured employee, a successful fund-raiser, a 12-year governor, and a prince. 

You might say that he’s one of the best examples of a white-collar worker in the Bible. 

Though he was never officially a CEO of a company, he headed an enormous public works project he had planned, then served as governor for twelve years.

I love that the Bible doesn’t only offer the stories of those more dramatic kings and conquerors, but also this story of a man who would have loved spreadsheets.

Thank you so much! I loved it!

—Shelley F.

A Man of the Mundane

A friend once said, “Life is maintenance.” 

And it’s so true. Do the dishes. Mow the grass. Change the oil. Eat. Sleep.

This is one of my favorite parts of the story of Nehemiah. 

He began as cup-bearer to the king. Then he had a dramatic, high-point success.

But after that, he had to keep doing maintenance, to keep correcting the people. 

Though the men finished the wall in two months, Nehemiah spent his entire time as governor focused on continuing to maintain and repair it.

It’s so terribly human, so real. 

It’s as if the story of Cinderella continues after the wedding, when she and Prince Charming have to deal with emotions and health issues, with unhelpful staff and sometimes disobedient children. 

That’s not as fun a story to read. But it’s more realistic.

In the book of Nehemiah, he finishes the high point success in the first few chapters, but the story keeps going . . . what a beautiful picture of life. 

Got mine last week. It is awesome. 

—Traci M.

Unique Format

Not a Bible study workbook. Not a textbook. Not a lengthy explanation with words upon words.

The Prince Protects His City uses short free verse poetry.

But while some literary poetry seems designed to obscure the meaning, these poems put the meaning on display, clearly and concisely. 

The entire book is less than 12,000 words, about one-fifth of a normal novel. You could read the whole thing in one sitting. 

Pressed for time? You could read a single chapter. Or even a single poem!

Each poem—most of them less than a page long—expresses a single, complete thought. 

If you only have 15 seconds in between interruptions, this is the book for you. 

 

*

“Seek the Peace”

 

As the Lord of hosts commanded,

In Babylon the people

Built houses to live in;

Planted gardens and ate of the fruit.

They married and were given in marriage,

Had children and those children had children.

 

As with the Israelites in Egypt,

They increased and were not diminished.

 

The God of Israel said to

Seek the peace of the city

And pray to the Lord for it,

For peace in the city meant 

Peace for the dwellers of the city,

Both those voluntary and those forced. 

 

And they waited for the seventy years to end,

When God would cause the people to return

To Jerusalem, 

 

The City of Peace.

 

*

I have loved reading through it! Thank you so much!

—Jinger H.

Gorgeous Layout

As an English and Humanities major, Amy spent her college years entranced by the art, literature, and music of the world. Aesthetics matter to her.

Every time she opens a Makarios Press publication, she celebrates again the clean and elegant design, the amount of white space on the page, and how the book itself feels good in the hand.

For Amy, she wanted a comfortable and beautiful book. 

Her business partner had even greater designs. Bob Perry said, “Acts 19:11-12 says, ‘God did extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.’ So, Lord, if you could make a handkerchief a vector of healing, let even my books themselves bring peace and healing to the reader.”

Reading a Makarios Press book should feel peaceful and calming.

It’s a beautiful book!

—Anna W.

PURCHASE THE BOOK

We are so excited to offer this to the world.

Celebrate with us!

About the Author

Amy Lykosh grew up in a home with parents who worked to spread awareness about international missions. Her mother, seeing a need for missionaries on the field, started Sonlight Curriculum, so families would have another option besides boarding school or coming home: homeschooling!

She was raised on a steady stream of missionary biographies and discipleship materials, and was blessed with godly mentors in college. In her role as one of the product developers at Sonlight, it was her privilege to review thousands of books over the years, including books on prayer.

Despite all these advantages, Amy had almost a decade in her adult life where she didn’t pray much at all. When she started again, though, she found that Jesus was still right there.

Now executive director of Workplace Prayer, her desire is to encourage others on their journey, and to enjoy the riches of prayer.

Amy’s first book was another biography in verse: One Voice: The Story of William Wilberforce, available from Sonlight. 

She also coauthored a free-verse poetry book on Revelation 4 and 5, As It Is in Heaven, available from Makarios Press.