Queen Esther told the Jews to fast & pray to God "If I perish, I perish" Esther 4:16
Queen Esther told the Jews to fast & pray to God "If I perish, I perish" Esther 4:16
In these last days when things look so dismal, there is a promise of hope for God’s people. Let us pray and fast for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We are called to humble ourselves, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, then God will forgive our sin and will heal our land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
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WHY AND HOW WE SHOULD PRAY
The Bible promises us that when we come together to pray, the Lord is in our midst. Matthew 18: 18-20 states "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
The Bible also informs us of God's expectations for Him to hear our Prayers.
2 Chronicles 7:14 states " If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
The Bible clearly directs us of God's order for how we should live.
Matthew 6:33 states " But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Finally, the Bible reveals how we should pray as Jesus shared with the Disciples.
Matthew 6:9-13 "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Bible | Esther 4:16
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
While fasting is a private discipline that yields many personal benefits, the promises of fasting can also impact your community and your nation.
72 HOURS THAT SAVED THE JEWS
In the book of Esther, the Jews were on the verge of destruction because of the evil conspiracy of Haman, one of the king’s advisors. Haman was “filled” with wrath against a Jew named Mordecai because he did not “bow or pay him homage” (Esther 3:5). “Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai” (Esther 3:6).
Mordecai sought help from Queen Esther, who was his niece. Mordecai’s request meant Esther would have to literally risk her life for it was very dangerous for her to approach the king without being summoned first. So, Esther called a fast.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16).
Those 72 hours of fasting changed the history of the world. When Esther approached the king on behalf of her people, they became a nation not of defeat, annihilation, suffering and shame, but a nation of favor. They received honor and promotion . . . all because of three days of fasting and prayer.
You and I can help change the history of our own nation through prayer and fasting. Yes, we have become a world void of morality and truth. But we don’t have to accept it! I want to challenge you to make a habit of regular prayer and fasting for our nation. Fast and pray for our leaders. Fast and pray for our religious freedoms. Fast and pray for the multitudes who have been deceived by the enemy.
Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
Moses fasted with the Lord for forty days, leaning on God for direction, wisdom, and guidance in writing the Ten Commandments.
This is known as one of the “supernatural absolute” fasts in the Bible where Moses went 40 days without eating or drinking.
It’s labeled “supernatural” or sometimes “miraculous” since that is quite dangerous normally and he was sustained miraculously only by God during that time.
God not only sustained Moses during his fast, but also gave him wisdom and direction.
…I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions….So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
Here, fasting was a means to humility.
It was a way to humble themselves before the Lord as they sought Him in prayer for protection.
They fasted humbly, prayed fiercely, and God answered.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
The purpose of fasting is so much deeper than simply giving up food for a while.
It’s not just an outward practice, but an inner transformation.
It’s about addressing the deep, ugly sins of your life, untying the cords of that yoke, and breaking free.
“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Return to me.
What a powerful phrase coming from our Almighty God.
This was a call to repentance, for the people to return to God’s mercy and steadfast love.
And one of the ways to show their truly repentant heart was through fasting.
Even here in the Old Testament, God was not asking for the act of fasting alone. Fasting was a way to show that they desired to return to God with all of their heart.
As Christians, our intentions matter. Our faith takes life to a level unseen. It is possible to do everything right on the outside, but without the proper heart, it doesn’t serve its purpose.
Fasting is one of those things.
If you are fasting to be seen by others as a “good Christian,” you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re fasting with a heart that can only focus on the things you lack (food, in this case) and not a hunger that drives you into the arms of your Savior to satisfy your needs, you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t fast for attention, recognition, or the sake of not-so-silent suffering through the 40 days of Lent.
Fast to draw nearer to God and rely on Him on deeper levels than you have before.
If After fasting forty days and forty nights, he [Jesus] was hungry.
Jesus fasted for forty days.
It’s hard for me to fathom what His body would have felt like during that time.
I’m imagining His human form felt quite weak.
Yet, He stood strong against the relentless temptation Satan kept shoving in His face.
He wasn’t relying on a protein-filled breakfast or a good night of sleep for his mental sharpness to stand up to the devil.
He relied completely on God’s strength (and God’s Word) during His fast.
Fasting can strengthen us spiritually when we choose to stand on God’s Word in our own human frailty.
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The entire purpose of the disciples’ and the Pharisees’ fasting was to show a longing for the day God would show up and show favor to Israel again.
But Jesus was right there with them! There was no need for fasting at that moment.
But immediately afterward, Jesus said, “the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
He wasn’t putting an end to all fasting.
He specifically said the time to fast would be coming again!
But now, our fasting isn’t filled with mourning as it was for the Pharisees. Instead, it’s filled with longing because we know Jesus came and will come again!
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It would seem that the church here fasted for guidance from the Holy Spirit. They didn’t know what to do next, but they ached for God’s direction.
And this particular instance of fasting happened after Christ’s coming.
This fasting was not about legalism.
This was a deep hunger in these people searching for guidance of the church’s next steps.
"And Jonah began to enter into the city about a day's journey, and he proclaimed, and said, yet three days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
" In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us,[a] by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord,[b] make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
..and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
So many of the Bible verses that talk about fasting also mention prayer. The two seem to go hand-in-hand.
Jesus prayed and fasted. So did the disciples, followers of John the Baptist, and so many others.
This spiritual discipline of fasting and praying was important in the Old Testament, impactful in the New Testament, and is still a powerful way to approach God on a deeper level.
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