I prayed for you. Well, I prayed for US. I prayed that God work His will and providence in our stories. I prayed for Ahasuerus to submit to the trouble and experience God. I prayed that we hold fast to Mordecai’s revelations and teachings…and stay in place. Then, I prayed God teach us containment protocols. What? Yeah, I know…it’s new to me too. But as I meditated on the “surprise prayer” that often comes from my spirit, I learned a few things I want to pass on.
Containment: preventing the spread of something
Protocols: rules of correct conduct and procedures to be followed in formal situations
Let’s take an aerial view of Esther’s story and consider Proverbs 4:20-27 as a base, with emphasis on verse 23
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (NASB)
Honestly, this is one of the most mysterious verses for me. A word study just doesn’t suffice. Guard, watch over your heart. Okay Lord, but HOW? That’s been my question. What does that look like — when we strive for authentic and open relationships, and work through our defense mechanisms and walls? That’s how I’ve approached it. So I constantly ask God for help here. Show me how to guard my heart.
When it comes to us as candidates, and the idea/prayer for containment protocols, it is simply this
WAYS TO PREVENT THE PREMATURE SPREAD OF OUR HEARTS AT A DISCOUNT
Some of us navigated various commitment paths (e.g., education, career, family, friendships, business ventures, partnerships, etc.) heart first. We vested ourselves emotionally…we put ourselves out there to those who neither valued nor respected our efforts. They just thought they were worthy recipients…despite the circumstances of the meet. I want to point out just a couple of examples in Esther’s story that may encourage us in “containing” our hearts while remaining soft. (a real task indeed, but not too hard for God!)
#1: DON’T LOSE YOUR MIND AT THE BANQUET (Esther 2:17-20)
It’s easy to get heady with the favor and kindness and elevation and the party in our honor. But note verse 20, that Esther still had not revealed her true identity. Granted, there are layers to all of us, and we work through trust and other issues to show our true selves to those in the above named categories. The standard never changes though. I admit I forgot that a few times, and tried to show this is who I am and this is what I can do. And it still fell on deaf ears and blind eyes. I had to recall that what they see and observe is still through their filters; it is not always accurate, nor is it “gospel”.
Sometimes, after a series of disappointments and failures, it’s good to just take in the positive. Let it feed and bless us, grow us and encourage us to upgrade our perspective. So enjoy the banquet, but don’t leave yourself to be trodden underfoot. [If you missed the Pleasant Words lesson and prayer call, please check that out under the Prayer menu option on the left.]
#2: KEEP YOUR INTERCESSION STEALTH (Esther 4:15-17)
When she learned of the plot to kill the Jews, Esther put an offensive prayer strategy in motion. Her maidens and her eunuchs, Hathach, Mordecai and all the Jews in Susa were in on the movement. Just a note here — when it’s time to pray, and you know the king or decision maker in place is easily swayed or influenced or overcome by the culture, then you call on those in the citadel. Susa was a citadel, a safe place, a fortress…and it’s here we must go when it’s time to pray and intercede on this level. You do not share with all the chosen…just the chosen in the citadel.
It’s tough to remain silent when there’s so much going on around you. Yet, it is possible to be fully engaged in the moments God provides for reflection, instruction and ascension. Let’s stay on the path. I’m getting a bit weary with process too, but God is with us and in us and for us and HE IS MORE…
Selah, and love to all.