The Life and Fast of Esther

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Many are familiar with the story of Esther, queen of Persia, who was chosen by God to bring deliverance to the Jewish people.

Hadassah, whose Persian name was Esther, was a young Jewish girl living in Persia when the Jews were in exile. When her parents died, she was raised by Mordecai, her cousin. As time went by, the king of Persia became displeased with his queen, so he banished her forever from his presence. After the king’s anger subsided, he desired a new queen. So the decree went out to call all the beautiful young virgins of the region to the palace to undergo beauty preparations. Esther was one of the many women who were called.

When the women were taken from their families, there were given a year of beauty preparations. At the end of the 12 months, one by one they went to the king and spent the night with him. If she pleased him more than all the rest, she would be chosen as his queen. If she was not chosen, she would become one of his many concubines, never to return home. In many ways, these concubines were horribly mistreated, robbed of their innocence and taken from their families with no future chance of a husband or family of their own. They became lower than the king’s wife with their only purpose to please the king if he should ever call for them by name. Their lives consisted of being raped once becoming ‘dirty’ and then living in a harem with other women of the same lowly status being separated from the ‘wives’ of the king. In essence, they remained sex slaves for life.

You can imagine how Esther, being Jewish and possibly more religious than others around the harem, would feel being put in this position without choice. Esther was born and raised during a time of war and exile, orphaned (her parents had died), taken captive, raped, forced to live apart from her people group, and finally risked her life with the task of being appealing to the king.

However, Esther found such favor in the king’s eyes that he chose her to be his queen. Her call to the palace and chosen position of authority saved her entire family and people group from genocide.


At this time of year—the Jewish remembrance called Purim—we remember the life of Esther and how she rose up in the midst of the challenges that surrounded her to be used mightily by God. No doubt she had personal struggles. Today, we would say she needed some professional counseling and inner healing before we would allow her to rise to such authority having been an orphan, practically a prostitute, isolated from her people, etc. This sounds familiarly like the modern day Persian woman.

The women of Esther’s time and culture were valued primarily for their beauty and sexuality—they had no basic rights of their own much like women in the Middle East today. In Islamic-dominated cultures where men have all the rights and women have nearly none, women are rising up and overcoming these challenges, being used by God to lead many to freedom in Christ.

The Lord redeemed what happened to Esther. Through her, He saved an entire nation. In the same way, the Lord can also redeem, and is redeeming, the life circumstances of oppressed Muslim women throughout the Middle East. And through them He is saving a lost region.


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Join us in fasting and prayer during Purim for breakthrough in the Persian world. Here are some prayer points. Thank you for your prayers and partnership. You are a part of the story—the story of freedom coming to the Muslim world through Jesus Christ.

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Through your prayers, we will see an even greater harvest in the Persian world. Jesus is the light and hope to such as these.


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PRAY WITH US

MARCH 8

  • FOR PROTECTION

  • FOR DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR

MARCH 9

  • FOR BOLD WITNESS

  • FOR SIGNS AND WONDERS TO BE DEMONSTRATED

MARCH 10

  • FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST IN THE COUNTRY

  • FOR NATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH

on MARCH 8, PRAY AND DECLARE:

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“Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed, you will remain unscathed and unharmed.”

— PSALM 91:7

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“He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence.”

— PSALM 91:2

on MARCH 9, PRAY AND DECLARE:

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“So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. ”

— ACTS 4:29

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“Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!””

— Acts 4:30-31

on MARCH 10, PRAY AND DECLARE:

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“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ”

— Isaiah 60:1-2

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“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?””

— Esther 4:14

Thank you for praying with us.

Visit our Prayer page for more resources or for information on how to join our prayer team.

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