I would like to share a prayer time I had with God a year ago as I prepared for a Purim Celebration and to encourage you to read Esther in the Old Testament.
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy of giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:20-22
Oh Jehovah, over and over you have shown your mercy and grace, delivering your people from seemingly devastating circumstances. I didn't completely understand from what or how you were delivering even me that day when I was 8 years old, talking with my cousin in her bedroom, when she told me I could go to heaven when I died if I asked Yeshua, Jesus into my heart.
Now I know you delivered me, a hopeless sinner from an eternity in hell, complete separation from you and the One I have grown to love more than, well hopefully more than anything.
I know I still need to keep working on that, but I couldn't stand to be separated from you. Thank you for choosing me, letting me be your child. The incomparable joy I find in times such as this when I can meet with you in our special place. I find so much joy in these times that I want others to experience you in this way -- your love and joy and, most importantly, your deliverance.
Lord, it's been five years now since you saw fit to allow me a special opportunity to fulfill my desire for others to come to know you. As I have joined you in your labor of love as director of Love INC, I have seen you at work first hand. I don't know why you have chosen me to oversee this work, but there are and always will be things I don't understand about your ways. I will continue to learn and to trust you.
Thank you for your never-ending patience with me when I forget to yield to you and I don't allow you to use me to just be your instrument. I know those are times I am depending on my own strength and ability instead of following you and allowing you to do the work. How many times have I missed out on experiencing your awesomeness because I measured the job in terms of my abilities instead of yours?
That makes me think of Queen Esther. What a job you gave her. To go before the king and ask for the lives of her people. She knew it was against the law to approach him without an invitation, that to break this law was to be put to death. When she contemplated this in human terms she said "No."
She must have thought, "Surely, there is someone else who can intercede for my people?" I'm glad you had Mordecai there to remind her that wasn't the point. The Bible tells me what his answer to her was; the Jewish people will be saved.
The question is not whether anyone else can save them but rather will you respond to the opportunity God has given you? For who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom "for such a time as this." Esther 4:14.
Now all these centuries later, I and others find ourselves in the same position as Esther. All around me are people on the brink of disaster, people facing their own deadline for dealing with the decision of eternal life or death, and they don't even know it. If they don't choose you, they are choosing death.
And just as for Esther and her people, you have provided a way out for all people, from this death sentence. All they have to do is accept it. Lord, I know all people are responsible for what they do with this message of Yeshua Ha Maschia, Jesus the Christ, our Messiah.
Your people are responsible for what we do to share your good news with the endangered souls all around us. Oh Lord, burden my heart for these lost souls. Like Esther, I have a duty to go before the King, you, Almighty God, on their behalf.
I ask you right here, right now, to use me, use your people, your church, to bring this life saving message, that you have fought the battle for us. Like Esther, I have the duty to proclaim the message of salvation in the King's name.
I admit, sometimes I'm tempted to look around at my circumstances, to see the personal dangers and difficulties. Then I shrink back. But like Esther, I have a destiny and you will use my circumstances, the trials, even my family as means for placing me in a position to stand courageously for you.
Oh Lord, I pray for these people whom you will draw into this work to share the love of Jesus with those who don't know you. When you give them the invitation, the opportunity to reach out, their moment of truth, I pray that, like Esther, they will find the courage to place their life in your sovereign control, to gamble with their personal comfort and security for the sake of your people's souls. For as long as the lot or pur is in your hands, there is no gamble.
Lord, I want you to be the guest of honor, the Lamb of God in our midst. It will be a time for us to celebrate our own deliverance as a people, just as the Jewish people and us with them rejoice in the deliverance. You brought them through your servant Esther. I ask your blessing on each one as they come and accept whatever invitation you give to them.
I claim the promise from Psalm 27, "You are the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid." Just as you saved Esther and her people from the evil Haman, we look forward to you realizing your victory over the evil one who would seek to destroy us for not bowing down at his gate.
For you will come again to take up those who have placed their lives in your hand so we can be with you -- the King of Kings -- for all eternity. Until that time, Lord, I am willing to stand and pray for your people and for those whom you are calling all around me to be yours. For you are blessed, oh Lord, and so are those who come in your name.
Janine Espy is the director of Love INC in Kenai.
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