Have you ever strained for what to say to a person at a critical moment?
The moment could involve consoling words to a friend who has lost a spouse, child, or other person dear to them. It could involve how to respond to an unjust accusation to your character or a challenge to your competence at work. It could include the need for encouraging words for a friend who is depressed. In such moments, do we ask God to give us the right words?
The Book of Esther tells the dramatic story of Esther, the beautiful adopted daughter of Mordecai, who becomes Queen to King Ahasuerus in Susa. Haman, the king’s chief administrator, becomes offended by Mordecai’s refusal to honor him. Because Mordecai is a Jew, Haman deceitfully persuades the king to issue an edict to kill all of the Jews in his kingdom. Mordecai instructs Esther that it is her duty to bring this plot to the king’s attention, but she risks the king’s wrath, if she approaches the king without his first extending a request for her to do so.
Esther prays, “Give me courage King of gods and master of all power. Put persuasive words into my mouth when I face the lion;” As Esther approached the king, “raising his face, afire with majesty, he looked on her blazing with anger. But God changed the king’s heart.” (Esther 4:17s; 1d-1e; JB) He sprang from his throne, embraced her and asked what she wanted. She was eventually able to disclose Haman’s plot and the king reversed the edict Haman had arranged. The Jews were saved from execution and Haman was hanged.
A few years ago, I came home and my wife said a former secretary from my work at Mobil had called and wanted me to call her back. “She didn’t sound well,” my wife said. I was astounded. It was more than thirty years since she had been my secretary! What could she possibly be calling for?
I called her back. She was indeed very ill. She had had cancer, followed by a stroke, and was now confined to a wheel chair. She thought she was dying, and she wanted to thank me for encouraging her to go back to school to finish her college education so she could move into higher level jobs. She did complete her degree in an evening program, and later enjoyed a successful career at Mobil moving through several positions.
As I was talking with her, I was prompted to pray for her, but I was resistant. I started to have a second conversation in my mind with the Lord. Since I am used to praying in the name of Jesus, I asked the Lord, “How do I pray for her? She is Jewish.” The thought came into my mind, “Pray in the name of the Father.” So I asked if she would like me to pray with her.
She said yes. So, I prayed in the name of the Father to bring her comfort and healing. I finished by saying , “Mary, I am going to continue to pray that you will be able to get out of that wheel chair and walk again on your own, and when you do, I want you to call me back and let me know.
A few months later I received a call. “Mr. Dalgetty, you told me to call you when I was able to get out of this wheel chair and walk. Today, I took my first steps!”