Prostrate in prayer before the Lord

Prayer / Scripture of the Day: Esther C:12, 14, 23–25

Prayer of Esther, a Jew, married to the King of Persia

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Background

Though it features real people, the Book of Esther is not a historical document. It is the basis for the Feast of Purim, a feast commemorating a time when God saved his people. The setting of the narrative is Persia in the 5th century BC. When King Xerxes falls for a plot to kill all the Jews, Queen Esther is the only one who can save her people. Yet she can do so only by risking her own life. The king does not know that his Queen, Esther, is a Jew. And, anyone who went to see the king without being summoned would be killed. The story is one of a reversal of fortune, where the lives of the prospering wicked come to an abrupt and violent end, and the God’s people, who are enslaved, are saved.

Quote of the Day

 “God remembered his people and vindicated his inheritance.” — Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, Esther 10: 12

Question of the Day

Do we trust God enough to begin to pray? T o persevere in prayer? Do we believe he hears and answers? Do we believe in God’s provision and protection? What will we sacrifice to make more time for prayer? Do we turn to God only for the “big things,” or do we engage God in every area of our need?

Gospel of the Day: Matthew 7:7–12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”

Ask, Seek, Knock

Like Esther, we, too, have recourse to the Lord. With the courage and humility of Esther, may we, this Lenten season, offer, with a spirit of repentance, an enduring prayer of adoration and petition, with great confidence in our loving and merciful God. Our enemy, we know, is not flesh and blood, and the enemy to banish is Satan and his minions, the fallen angels. May they be cast into hell forever, and may the kingdom of God come. May we find in Christ the wholeness for which we long. May God set us free.

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