English Standard Version (ESV)
In verse 4, the King asks Nehemiah what he is requesting. Nehemiah isn't sure how to respond, so he prays. Only then does he speak to the King, setting in motion the events of the rest of the book, which are dramatic and vital to the ongoing life of the Israelite community. It all begins with a prayer.
Now, we could dwell on what this prayer might have included. We could focus on the specific words and try to determine how we can imitate this prayer. More important, however, is the simple fact that when presented with a major decision, Nehemiah opts to go to God in prayer. It speaks to a dependence on God, to an orientation to God that says that all major decisions will go through God first. This simple fact tells us that Nehemiah is a man who seeks God's will above all else. We learn about Nehemiah's heart, about his motives, about his true love.
When we are faced with decisions, big and small, what do our actions reveal about our hearts? Are we seeking to be obedient and faithful? Are we prepared to follow wherever God might lead? Will we turn to God first?
By seeking God in prayer, we lead our hearts down the paths of faithfulness, setting our lives up as moment following moment in which we seek to subsume our own will to God's, allowing his glory to triumph in our human hearts.