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.
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.
Through your prayers, we will see an even greater harvest in the Persian world. Jesus is the light and hope to such as these.
PRAY WITH US
FOR DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR
FOR BOLD WITNESS
FOR SIGNS AND WONDERS TO BE DEMONSTRATED
FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST IN THE COUNTRY
FOR NATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH
on MARCH 8, PRAY AND DECLARE:
on MARCH 9, PRAY AND DECLARE:
on MARCH 10, PRAY AND DECLARE:
Thank you for praying with us.
Visit our Prayer page for more resources or for information on how to join our prayer team.