The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
Nehemiah is a great Old Testament illustration of this New Testament promise. He was a man of fervent prayer, one who prayed without ceasing.
His prayer burden began while serving the Persian king, Artaxerxes. He heard of the state of the Jewish remnant who had returned to Palestine and the condition of Jerusalem. The remnant that are left of the captivity . . . are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire (Nehemiah 1:3). Upon hearing this, Nehemiah wept . . . mourned . . . fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven (v.4).
For five months Nehemiah besought God, day and night (v.6). In his prayer (vv.511) he recognized who God wasGod of heaven, the great and terrible (v.5); what He had promisedRemember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandest thy servant Moses (v.8), that if they were scattered, God would bring them back; that restoration begins with confession of sin. Both I and my fathers house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments (vv.6,7); that God has a covenant relationship with His people. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy . . . strong hand. . . . That keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His commandments (vv.10,5); That God had great power (v.10) and was to be feared (v.11).
He concluded his prayer by asking God to prosper his way (v.11). The Lord did that and much more. God enabled him to rebuild the wall and establish righteousness among his people, and it was all because one man had a broken heart and prayed effectually and fervently. NPS