Great Mourning

Scripture Reading — Esther 4:1-3

There was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes. — Esther 4:3

Haman, a malicious adviser to the king of Persia, had come up with a plan to destroy the Jews (Esther 3). When Mordecai heard about this, he was in great distress. All of his people were in danger.

Mordecai spread the word, urging all of the Jews throughout the kingdom to fast and mourn. This meant praying to God for help and avoiding food and drink, except for water, for a number of days. Mordecai also did everything he could to let the world know what would happen to his people.

We can learn an important lesson here. When we face a crisis, we must pray to God for help and wisdom and protection. Then we need to do what we can, but our efforts should not go ahead of praying to God.

In Psalm 124 we find a song of King David that says, “If the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive. . . . Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” David confessed that victory came because God was with him.

Mordecai and the Jews also received God’s help. Prayer is important every day in our life with God. God works in and through his people in many ways against the destructive powers of this world. We can work with God as people of faith through prayer and ­obedience.

Prayer

Father God, the world and its nations are in your hands. We pray that you will kindly reign over all people and leaders to do your work in your world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.