On the third day…
Esther chose to deal with the crisis in her world by taking time to fast and pray. Esther not only prayed … she prayed for three days.
The edict has gone out. This is CRISIS mode! But rather than just shooting up a quick arrow prayer, Esther makes time to do the real work of prayer – for three days.
These words by Oswald Chambers were uttered hundreds of years after Esther lived:
Prayer is not a preparation for work, it IS work.
Prayer is not a preparation for the battle, it IS the battle.
Prayer is two-fold: definite asking and definite waiting to receive.
I think Esther and Oswald were on the same page where prayer was concerned.
Esther took not three seconds…or three minutes…or even three hours to pray.
She prayed for THREE DAYS.
She was a young woman. Her life and the lives of her people are threatened and her actions can impact whether they live or whether they die – and whether her own young life is cut short. Surely she was afraid. Certainly she was concerned about saying and doing the right thing. She presented all that emotion…all that fear…concern…trouble and trepidation….she gave it all to God.
Psalm 56:3-4 says:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
There are layers of truth in this powerful Psalm. Do you see them?
The antidote for fear – is prayer. We come to God with our fears. We place our trust in HIM – not in our own abilities, not in the advice of a self-help book, or the answer to a survey question on Facebook.
Our trust is in HIM and in HIS WORD. Cultivating a habit of daily Bible study– saturating ourselves in the Word of God — is actually preparation for the difficult times that will surely come. God’s Word is foundational to responding well, to surviving and thriving through hard times.
And do you see the word PRAISE embedded here? Really? Praise? Is it weird – is it even possible to praise God in a fearful situation? Yes. Yes it is. And as we press in to Him in prayer, a quiet calm and peaceful assurance will come over us. A peace that the world cannot give and does not even understand. The peace that is the fruit of the spirit. Peace that can only come from God. The peace that in Philippians 4:6-7 Paul called the peace which transcends all understanding.
Are you facing a hard thing—a difficult decision, a troubling circumstance, a rough road? Have you prayed? Will you choose to take time – -to make time – to really pray?
The woman of God prays first.
Before she does anything else – she prays! She knows prayer is the preparation for the crisis.
Prayer may change the situation or it may change us. Sometimes God calms the storm, but sometimes He just calms the believer in the midst of the storm.
After three days, nothing had really changed on the outside for Esther. The edict was still in place. The king had still not called for her. Haman has not repented or turned from his wicked ways. The annihilation of God’s people is still scheduled.
And as you and I complete our own prayers and say amen and rise to our feet – -the cancer may still be there, the marriage is still hard, the stack of bills is still unpaid, the addiction challenges are ever present, the prodigal child is still out there.
But we are changed. We are steadfast and resolute. We have the peace that passes understanding. Our hearts are aligned with His. And we may even have a new plan or a new insight.
Esther’s situation had not changed when she said Amen.
But Esther is changed. She is ready to go forth. She has a plan and I believe that plan was given by God as she took time to pray. Are you ready to take a little time today…to pray?
You can hear the entire teaching lecture for Esther Lesson 4 here: