23 “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.”
Ezra 8:23 (New Living Translation)
Sometimes (re)building proves really challenging. I was reminded of this while spending two days with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Their patience was being royally taxed. Their this-can-be-done spirit was attacked daily. Help was needed. Help was not always found.
Can you relate?
Consider today’s Scripture context: Ezra started to get some help with a huge, national-sized rebuild. But he became concerned that the help he got from his new boss (the king) might not be enough.
So Ezra hesitated in asking for more from the king because he didn’t want that guy to think he lacked confidence. Should he just make do?
Ezra went another direction instead, and here’s what sustained him:
HE WENT TO GOD. Sometimes we don’t. We go elsewhere or we go nowhere. But God rewards the diligent seeker. Always does. Always will. He is the first-best one to go to for all building jobs (Hebrews 11:1, Philippians 4:19, James 1:5, James 4:2).
HE FASTED. He denied himself life pleasures to let God know how serious and dependent he was on Him to build and protect. Sacrifice activates the soul level.
HE EARNESTLY PRAYED. Deeply petitioning God, leaning on Him, leveling with Him, lingering with Him is what earnest prayer looks like. Both confidence and desperation mark earnest prayer.
HE ASKED OTHERS TO JOIN HIM. Inviting others to come alongside is powerful. Corporate prayer is deeply unifying.
The result? God heard Ezra. He answered. The rebuild advanced. A temple rose tall and proud, and a nation regained its footing. The Vegas odds were defied, for sure.
Reflect: Where do you go when your builds and rebuilds need serious attention? Do you have something good and godly you want so badly that you’ll sacrifice much comfort for it? Who could you invite to pray with you for a strong rebuilding job you’re facing?
A prayer to consider: LORD, Ezra went to a better king, the True King. Help me to get there, beyond routine, beyond afterthought. I call out to You.
There’s a couple of rebuild jobs in and around me that need Your divine power and strong support. Hear my cry, as well.