A Time for Prayer

On the day I called for help, you answered me. Psalm 138

The book of Esther is an old favorite I remember from my childhood reading. Readings from Esther only come up during Lent, but it’s like seeing an old friend again. Here’s a Jewish orphan who married a Persian king and saves her people when Haman wants to slaughter them.

Her cousin, Mordecai, tells her, “Who knows if you have come to the kingdom for just such as this time?”

“Be mindful of us, O Lord. Manifest yourself in the time of our distress and give me courage…” Esther prayed.

Most of you know the story: how Esther went to the king; how he granted her request; how she saved both the king and her people.

I think I liked it because it was one of the few stories in the Bible – and I read it from cover to cover several times in my youth – when a woman was the hero. But more than that, her prayer was answered. And I learned from that. And I often prayed the same prayer: I’m in trouble again! You better pay attention here. I called for help and I was answered.

That doesn’t mean I prayed for riches or power or even to save someone’s life – more I prayed that I’d get through some difficult time. And I always have. Somehow. And I began to trust that I could get though the tough times without getting crazy.

I’m not saying God’s on my side. Rather, I believe that if I pay attention to the signs, to the words within, or sometimes just keep going, I’ll get through. Mostly I prayed for peace of mind and to put down my fear.

When do you call for help? Have you paid attention to the synchronicity that sometimes follow prayers? Do you listen for the still, small voice that says, “turn here”?

Perhaps more of our prayers would be answered if we were to take the time to listen for the reply.

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