Fast Devotional #10 – The Power of the Unseen


By Matt Destry – Communications Pastor


Nehemiah 2:19
And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding.


Most of us would be familiar with an iceberg – a big block of glacial ice floating through open waters. You may have even heard that only a small amount of the iceberg is visible to the eye – that is, above the water. In fact, about 90% of the iceberg is under the water – they are much bigger than what they seem at first glance. In the study of human behaviour, the ‘iceberg principle’ follows that what makes up our visible lives and actions is only about 10% of our real selves – the other 90% is hidden or ‘unseen’. It is the same with Nehemiah’s life and leadership.

After hearing of Jerusalem’s plight, Nehemiah weeps, and begins to fast and pray. For four unseen months he prays and plans with supplication and strategy, before bringing his plans before the King of Persia. After receiving permission and resources from the King to rebuild in his homeland, he then travels the long journey to Jerusalem. Arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah rides around the southern walls of the city, again, completely unseen. The foundation of Nehemiah’s public ministry and service was the private hours he spent seeking God and seeking wisdom.

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Godly action and noble behaviour in our lives will not come by chance. They will not suddenly appear on the doorstep of our lives like a long lost relative. They must be sought out, pursued, and yearned for. Powerful and beautiful fruit in our lives will only come through prayer, worship and study in the unseen. It is our private connection with God that brings not only the clarity around our calling, but the empowerment to fulfil it. In Nehemiah’s case, it was his private prayers that gave power to his public pulpit. May our own lives be so filled with private devotion that our actions spill out with works that bring glory to Jesus, and help others find Him also.


Father God, I repent for the times I have sought to do your ministry without your help. Develop in me a great well of life and love in prayer and devotion, that I would bear your name with passion and conviction. As we meet in private, may there be a noticeable difference in my conduct with my family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. May the glory go to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.