It all looked so good. There was a big job to do but everyone was doing their bit. It was early days, but everything was going smoothly. Then it got tough. There were people who didn't want the wall built . They were powerful. First they tried ridicule. Then they made direct threats. Slowly the job got more tiring. Those who travelled to the work thought it might be safer staying at home.
I'm guessing that, for most of us, the life of faith is tougher than we first thought it would be. We too face opposition, fatigue and the thought that everything might be simpler if we chose an easier life. (If you've never felt this, maybe you could do with taking your faith more seriously?)
Nehemiah knows what to do. First he prays. Prayer was the key to getting this far and it will be the key to getting further. It's an honest prayer, the sort of prayer we could do with praying more often.
Then he takes action. It's time to stand up to the opposition. The key thing here is that he gets everyone together and encourages them to act as one group. Sure, it was great when everyone was doing their own little bit; that's how jobs get done. But a 'you in your small corner and I in mine' approach leaves everyone vulnerable. People learn to conquer their fear when they are together and when everyone has everyone else's back.
You may have your own 'small corner' where you serve Christ. Great. But remember the picture from our prayer evening: a strong church is a church that prays together. Remember our strapline: Discovering God Together. Individuals get picked off easily. It's harder to defeat an army.