According to the editors of the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible, “the book of Ezra and Nehemiah are really one book …….[and] the book which we call Nehemiah related the return of Nehemiah for two periods of governorship over Judah …..The first return was in 445/444 BC. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and instituted social and religious reforms. And outstanding aspect of Nehemiah’s religious life was his dependence on God and his frequent prayers.
Prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11)
4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the Israelites, confessing the sins of the Israelites, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. 7 We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded Moses your servant. 8 Remember the word that you commanded Moses your servant, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to establish my name.’ 10 They are your servants and your people whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”