My pastor mentioned Nehemiah 1 the other day and so I read it this evening and was blessed by Nehemiah's example of taking responsibility. Take a look at Nehemiah 1:5-9.
I said, "I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'
This is a great example of how to pray... he comes humbly before God recognizing God's greatness and his position as God's servant... and he comes before God to take responsibility for not only his sin, but the sins of the people around him. He is praying God's Word back to Him with both the good promises of blessing and the consequences of living unfaithfully to God. God desires to be glorified in bringing His people to the place of His dwelling.
To be honest, I can't remember the last time that I have come before God, taking responsibility for the sin of someone else. Yet, I truly believe that God is looking for men like Nehemiah to stand up and be men... take responsibility and action according to His will. I need Him so much to teach me to be a man of responsibility... that loves Him and desires others to do the same so much that I am willing to humbly come before the Lord confessing not only my sin, but the sin of others... pleading that God would strip it away and draw all men to Himself.
Article written by: Daniel Osborne on his blog "Pressing On Toward the Goal!"