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Pray by Day
Bite-sized reflections from Pray by Day

Author: Elaine Roub, from the Charis Community in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Twist in the Plot: Finding Courage

The 5th chapter of Esther says, “What is more,” Haman went on, “Queen Esther gave a banquet for no one but the king and me, and we are invited back tomorrow.” (Esther 5:12-13)

It’s one thing, in a moment of inspiration at a prayer meeting, to make a commitment to lay down your life. It is quite another to actually follow through on that commitment in the cold light of day. 

You can see why it took Esther a while to gather her courage, knowing her commitment to go unbidden to the king could literally cost her her life. Before she took that brave step, Esther made a wise choice not to go it alone. She asked her maids and, through Mordecai, all the Jewish people, to fast and pray for her. Esther knew she needed the people of God to stand with her.

Okay, here’s where you need to get beyond this Reader’s Digest super-Condensed version of the Esther story and delve into the actual book yourself. But (Spoiler alert!) here’s the nutshell version:

Esther goes to face the king, and guess what? He’s delighted to see her, and gladly accepts her invitation for him and Haman to attend her banquet that night. Haman’s pride at this honour is daunted only by Mordecai still refusing to bow to him, so he builds a gallows to hang Mordecai on. Esther uses the first banquet as leverage and invites them both back the next night. At Banquet number two, Haman is exposed in all his wickedness, and the king decrees his death sentence on the gallows he built for Mordecai. Read chapters 6 & 7 for the wonderful ironies of Mordecai’s honour and Haman’s shame.

What’s being asked of you right now probably doesn’t involve saving a nation or literally laying down your life. But are you courageous enough to lay down your precious time for another, or to serve unnoticed for the sake of the Kingdom? Have a conversation with God about what he might be asking of you today.


Scripture quotations from The Good News Bible, © 1994 published by the Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK, Good News Bible ©. American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992. Used with permission.

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