Esther 4:1-17, 6:10-13
By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director, Missionary for Missions Education and Customization, Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)
One of the funniest commercials ever is a little boy almost touching his sister, but not quite; the whole time he is saying, “I’m not touching you!” That is such typical behavior between siblings. Brothers and sisters like to annoy one another. It was true of my brothers and sisters (except for me, of course). It is true of my children. It has been a truth since the beginning of time.
Cain and Abel had their rivalry going (Gen. 4:1-16). Joseph and his brothers could not manage to get along (Gen. 37:12-36).
In the New Testament, we find Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Martha complained to Jesus because Mary was not helping with the preparation of food. I can just hear this one, “She’s not helping. Make her help.”
Parents and children, brothers and sisters, brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters are always going to have issues on occasion. There is one plan that can get us through and is fool proof to maintain unity and bring strength to the family – prayer.
In the story of Esther, she is asked to take on quite a large task. Her uncle, Mordecai, asks her to go before the king and plead the case of the Jews. For her to do such a thing could be placing her very life in danger. In the beginning, she is not happy with Mordecai for asking her to do something so difficult. A little bit of an argument ensues. After some consideration, Esther changes her mind and agrees to do the job. But, before she tackles this job that could mean her life and could impact her family in a huge way, she calls on her family for prayer.
Today, we might not find ourselves going before a king, but certainly we face many issues that are just as difficult as those faced by Esther. Her challenge was saving her family and her people from death. In modern culture, our challenge is saving our families from the influences of our culture. In a culture that consumes so much of our time, there is almost none left. A culture that is complacent about God. A culture in which alcohol and drugs are being consumed at a younger age than ever before. A culture that moves us from one job location to the next. A culture that does not make it possible for children to grow up close to grandparents, aunts and uncles. A culture where economy can change in 24 hours from good to bad. And the list goes on.
Mordecai said to Esther, “Who knows that you have come into royal position for such a time as this.” I believe the same is true for us today, we are here today for such a time as this to protect our families, to have Christ at the center of our home, to teach our children scripture and to be the church in our neighborhoods.
When Mordecai first went to Esther with his request, her initial response was to run and hide. There are some days I would much rather hide in the safety of my home or in the safety of my church family. But God calls us to action. Perhaps, like Esther, the best place to start is by calling our family to prayer; prayer for our nation, prayer for our missionaries, prayer for our schools, prayer for our government, prayer for our churches, prayer for our family members and prayer for the lost.
It was through prayer that Esther found the courage to carry out God’s plan and see God do an amazing work. Who knows what plan might be revealed or what amazing thing we may be a part of as we too call our families to prayer.
Esther was surprised at the king’s positive response when she entered his court without an appointment. (I always find it funny when we are surprised when our prayers are answered.) God heard the family prayer. Mordecai’s enemy was humiliated beyond measure when Mordecai received the king’s robe. That’s the power of family prayer! Try it and don’t be surprised what prayer you may see answered.