FASTING - On behalf of others

SCRIPTURES
Psalm 63:1 | O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

Ester 4:10-17 | Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai. Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Psalm 35:11-18 | Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly. They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me. How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people.

DISCUSSION
  1. Why do you think Esther wants the Jews all fasting on her behalf before she faces the king and possible death?
  2. In today’s Scripture, we see people fasting for the sake of others. Before reading this, do you think you would ever consider giving up something (fasting) for the sake of someone else?
  3. Who are some people in your life that you would fast and pray for? Are any of these people facing something serious now that you are feeling led to pray for? Fast for?
  4. In Psalm 35, David fasts for people who are known enemies. Do you have any known enemies? If so who? Would you fast on their behalf? Why or why not? What do you think a time of fasting and prayer on their behalf would do in your heart?
  5. Who in your life needs salvation? Would you consider fasting on their behalf,  praying intently for their salvation? Why or why not?
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