Nehemiah was a man in a prominent position in the government of the Medes and Persians (1:12). Prominent though his position was, he was still an Israelite at heart. He inquired about those who traveled to the homeland, and when he heard the discouraging word, he offers a prayer to the Lord for strength and forgiveness.
Application: Though it may have been that Nehemiah stayed when he could have returned (no way to know whether this was the case or not) his heart was with his people, and it was for them that he had great interests. Having heard news that he did, he prays. Prayer is hard for a number of people, not so hard for others, and a delight for others still. In Scripture you can’t miss the value of prayer and even the substances of its content.