“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do” - Esther 4:16 (NIV).
A Bishop of a leading church in Uganda, has called on for a period of fasting and prayer specifically to combat the Covid-19 pandemic which is raging like a wild fire here. Every other day one hears of someone connected to in some ways going up suddenly, a number in the prime of their life.
Prayer and fasting have long been part of the Christian life, a potent weapon through turbulent times. As in our leading verse, when the Jews were being threatened with extermination, the key to fight this pending doom was with King Xerxes (Esther 3). It was forbidden to see His Majesty, unless upon being summoned. Something miraculous had to happen, for him to change his mind. But there was an obstacle. “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death ..” (Esther 4:11). This law extended even to Queen Esther.
Now Esther, decided not to believe in what the law said, appealing to the most High God, instead. Having asked for prayers and fasting, she said, “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (vv 16). And once in his presence, her prayers unlocked the gate. The king, then put aside the law, opened up his heart, and, “asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. ..” (Esther 5:6).
At the beginning of the church, with Christians being faced with persecution, Peter was arrested by King Herod, where he was “guarded by four squads of four soldiers each” (Acts 12:4). Against this might of force, the church could have fearfully given in. Instead, while “Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (vv 5).
Something miraculous then happened. “The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists” (vv 6-7).
Against what appears to be impossible situations, through prayer and fasting God has opened the way, including bringing an end to a pandemic. Today, faced with any powerful force, how about use a powerful weapon there in your hands.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of heaven, today I come to you in prayer, that against what appears impossible, you hear me and make me taste of victory, because of our faith in the Lord Jesus!
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!