In week four of “Then I Will Go“, my attention was turned towards the subject of prayer and fasting.
In Esther 4 (verses 12-17), we find Esther and Mordecai engaged in a conversation through Hathach, a messenger. Mordecai responds to Esther with a hard message and does not back down or excuse her from action because it might be dangerous.
Instead he points out it would be more dangerous for her to keep quiet. Why?
Mordecai knew God’s promises and knew God would be faithful to His people. He knew God would not permit His people to be annihilated. He also points out that with or without Esther, God’s plan would be fulfilled. It would be better for Esther to be on God’s side than to try to save her own neck.
Mordecai also wisely points out that God may have even placed her in a position of influence to impact His chosen people for all time.
Esther makes her decision and chooses to go to the King, but not in her own strength. She asks for many to pray and fast for three days, recognizing not only the seriousness of the situation, but her need for God to intervene in protecting her.
Esther’s actions raises several questions in my mind:
- Do I [we] pray and fast as much as I should?
- Do I [we] take time to pray and fast before making an important decision?
Often we react first to a situation and then pray. Esther’s actions show us we would be wise to pray first and wait for God’s direction.
Fasting can take several forms and does not need to be a fasting from all food. We can fast from a particular food item such as sweets or coffee. We can take a technology fast. Or perhaps solely fast from social media.
“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” (Andrew Murray)
Esther believed God answers prayer.
May we be as resolute as she and be faithful to pray and fast.
“In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.” (Psalm 34:6, NLT)