Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 8: Fasting and Prayer

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our possessions. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but his power and his wrath is against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and sought our God for this, and He heard us….

Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and from those who were lying in wait by the way. And we came to Jerusalem… (Ezra 8:21-23, 31-32a)

Ezra and the people arrive at their goal through fasting and prayer. Of course there was planning, of course there was preparation, and of course labor. But – the ultimate success of the venture depended on prayer and fasting.

Ezra believed it was necessary for the people to humble themselves, acknowledging their total dependency on God. They were also seeking guidance and, to put it in our terms, preservation of capital. The result? God saved them from opposition and from surprise attacks, too! Let’s learn to cover our own “voyage” with prayer, too – and fasting.

Thank-you, Father, for this gracious reminder that prayer is more than haphazard thoughts strewn about in a few distracted moments. You encourage us by this example and many others, that when Your people unite to pray, humble themselves and fast, You will command deliverances and create a smooth path on which they can travel. We ask You as Ezra did, with fasting, for a right way for us and our little ones, and for all our possessions.

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