‘Purposing Change’ Meditations: 8. Teamwork Needed
Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me.”
Fasting implies serious commitment and prayer. Fasting may be something you might want to think about somewhere along this path, but if it doesn’t seem to be the Lord’s suggestion, know He’s for you; you don’t need to try to twist his arm. If you do fast it will be to draw nearer to the Lord and have a sharper listening ear.
However, the bigger issue I feel we should tackle here, is the suggestion of team work in this verse. If you do catch the Lord’s heart for someone close to you, you might want to ask Him to show you a friend or two who might stand with you in committed prayer for the duration (i.e. until the change comes).
When we dig in to pray for a loved one who doesn’t know the Lord, a friend or neighbour or workmate who similarly doesn’t know the Lord, then we need to realise, as I hope I have already conveyed, that this is a long-haul job that may evoke resistance from the enemy, apart from resistance from our loved one etc., and because of that we are likely, maybe more than once, to get tired, weary and maybe even a bit run down. This is, after all, a warfare situation where we are wrestling for the eternal life of this person.
Now Esther gives us this picture of a woman who was going into a dangerous situation but who knew that she needed God’s covering in prayer, and she needed others to stand with her. For you and me, there may be days in the month(s) ahead where we just feel at a low ebb and so, like a runner in a relay we need to share it with others and get someone else to take the baton for a few moments. To take another scriptural picture, we are today the ‘body of Christ’ and as Paul said, we are just a part of it (1 Cor 12:27) and “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” (v.26). So, ask the Lord to give you other Christians who can stand with you and support you and, yes, from time to time feed you with encouragement.
The story in the Bible of the rebuilding of the temple after the Exile shows us times when the enemy discouraged the builders. And what was God’s answer to that? Haggai and Zechariah who brought His words of encouragement that got the builders back on their feet and into action again until the temple rebuilding was finished. You and I, if we embark on a project like this which may (or not) go on longer than we originally anticipate, will need the encouragement of God that can come through praying friends. Tell them you are open to receive any ‘words’ they may receive for you as they pray – and give them feedback as and when there is anything to report.
Understand that this ‘team-work’ also includes the Godhead, the Trinity. I have this picture of a war-room where the Father presides, keeping watch over all that take place, Jesus is in operations centre directing the battle and the Holy Spirit is the power on the ground bringing it about. You ARE NOT alone. They are working for you. If your heart yearns for your loved one, know theirs does even more. This is an important truth. Many years ago when our three children were very small, my wife had a serious accident and we rushed her into hospital. It became clear that they could not stop her bleeding and as she lay there she prayed and cried, “Lord, please look after my children,” as she wondered if she was coming out of this alive. Very clearly the Lord spoke back to her: “Don’t you think I love them even more.” And that was enough. Peace. The bleeding stopped and the crisis was over, but a big lesson was imparted. God loves your loved one so, so, so much more than you can imagine. He is on this, He there for you; it’s a battle with an uncertain outcome but know Jesus beside you in this fight and, human will aside, he doesn’t intend to lose this one!