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Several films have been made based on Esther’s story. What I’ve seen is impressively gorgeous. Crescent-shaped eyes, flawless olive skin. A Hollywood heartthrob, this lady. And, indeed, she must have been chosen as the queen of Persia from the harem of the beautiful contestants.
The films are equally unanimous as moments of high drama: the unwelcome visit of Easter and her king Xerxes. He is standing at the entrance to the throne room, clothed in elegance. The camera can’t take its face away from its splendor. When this happens, we get to see Xerox with his eyes wide open. “What can I do for you, my beauty?”
The underlying message of the movie is clear: the beautiful looks of Easter soften and subdue the hard hearts of the jerseys.
Most Lucado: This is your moment to join OD God in your sacred work
Yet the scriptures tell a different story. Yes, he appeared before the king. Yes, he did it at great risk. And, yes, Xerxes lowers his scepter and invites him to enter. But it wasn’t her beauty that made the difference.
Look at the text, and see if you agree.
Esther then sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my servants will fast like you. When it is done, I am king.” I will go closer, although it is against the law. (Approx. 4: 15-16 NIV)
Esther faced a movable wall and the possibility of death for taking the wrong step. She responded by calling her hair stylist, not back to the prayer chamber. Without rushing to the throne room of Xerxes, he humbly stepped into the throne room of God.
In the movie I want anyone to make, Easter would break into a pile, face to face on her bedroom floor. His nation is headed for genocide. It was going to be a bloodbath, and he slept with the king who ordered it. His maids saw him fall to the ground and rushed to his aid. He pushes them away. “Just tell Mordecai one thing: I’m going to see the king. Even if it costs my life. Tell everyone to pray.”
What if prayer is the only thing between you and a season to refresh?
This is a new Easter. Until this moment she relied on her beautiful appearance. Now he throws himself upon his upon God. He will soon stand in front of Xerxes. Soon he will risk his life. He would seek the repeal of an immutable law approved by the patronage of the most powerful person in the empire and the king’s own signature ring.
He knows that God’s only intervention is their only hope. It is a prayer of despair. Three days. No food. There is no water. Fear took away his sleep. His stomach went hungry. Dehydration dries out her skin and leaves her eyes wide open. He prayed a prayer of tears.
You probably know what happened next. When Easter enters the king’s throne room, he is again pictured with the fingers of the Persian perfection. One glance at him and Xerxes’ jaw hit the ground. The scripture says, “He was pleased with her and took the golden scepter in his hand” (5: 2).
But her glamor did not open the door to the throne room. It was his prayer. She came before the king in beauty, while she humbly stood before the king of kings. Are we not asked to do the same?
Many years ago, when our family was living in Brazil, a new Christian brought a question to the leaders of our church. He was reading his Bible (good for him), and he discovered this promise: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe, you will receive” (Matt. 21:22 NKJV).
“Does our church believe this passage?” He was amazed.
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What is an evangelist? “Yes, of course.”
“Then,” he replied, “why do we work so hard and pray so little?”
Good question. Why us? What if prayer is the only thing between you and a season to refresh? I don’t mean the hat “to the guy upstairs”. I am speaking of sincere prayer. I can’t think of a simpler – or more important, way to partner with God in the midst of our challenges.
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What is your version of Xerxes? Is your work at risk? Is your loved one in the hospice? Is your family affected? Do you believe in Tatars? Back in your prayer room.
Queen Xerxes could enter the throne room because she spent time in the throne room of thr Lord. The same goes for you and my story. Once we talk to the king of heaven, we are ready to face any king on earth.
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