During the weekend service, Oregon Campus Pastor Andy Rectenwald spoke on the book of Esther. She was the beautiful wife of King Xerxes I and was of Jewish descent. She and Mordecai persuaded the king to reverse the decree to annihilate all the Jews in the Persian Empire. At first, Esther was not receptive to Mordecai’s request to intercede on behalf of her people. She knew that anyone, including herself, would risk death by appearing before the king if they had not been called. (Esther 4:11) In the second request, Mordecai pointed out the cold hard fact that her life would not be spared and suggested that she may have been made queen for just this purpose. (Esther 4:14)
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I die, I must die.”
Even though prayer is not mentioned in these verses, Esther knew the importance of fasting as a way of drawing closer to God. She requested others to join her in the fast to help build up her confidence and strength to confront the king. The fate of the Jewish people was not in her, but in God. Her own fate depended on her faithfulness to God. It was not until she was prepared, through prayer with God, that she was able to do something that made an eternal difference.
CedarCreek Church is a proponent of “Pray First.” Our church passes out blue bracelets with these words inscribed in white twice a year as a reminder of the significance of praying before everything. We should pray before starting our day, before starting a task, before meetings, before dates, before phone calls, before disciplining our children, etc. Prayer should become a priority for us as Christ followers, and not just in preparation for important decisions or facing trials. We need to remember to pray first, often, and always.
Psalms 55:17 (NKJV)
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
Andy’s bottom line was: My purpose is to give eternal meaning to the mundane. Queen Esther’s life seemed anything but mundane given that she was the queen of a kingdom. As a follower of Christ, we too are in a kingdom, the kingdom of God (more on this tomorrow). Therefore, everything we do can make an eternal difference, even everyday occurrences.
What are your biggest challenges in making prayer a priority?
Many Christians want to spend time in prayer with God but lack the spiritual discipline to do so. If this sounds familiar, what do you need to do to gain spiritual discipline?
God placed Queen Esther in her position for a reason, and she needed the courage to fulfill his plan. Has he placed you somewhere to fulfill his plan for you?
We have a spiritual opportunity to be part of a MEANINGFUL moment starting Aug. 10. This is the first day of CedarCreek’s 21-Days of Prayer. Challenge yourself to participate. This might just be the start of a great habit of praying first!
Mighty Father in heaven, give me the wisdom to know that I need to pray before everything I do. Help me to understand that life is better when I am in constant dialogue with you. Grant me patience so I may see your will for my life. Give me opportunities to share spiritual blessings so I may make an eternal difference in others. In your Son’s name I pray, amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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