January 8, 2019 | Wanda Alger, IFA Field Correspondent
As believers engage in intercessory activism, we can learn much from one intercessor in the Bible who affected an entire nation through his prayers and actions. Though many are familiar with Esther’s role in delivering a nation from destruction, Mordecai paved the way for national breakthrough. His story imparts several strategic keys for effective prayer and engagement in the public square.
Loving God and others: Mordecai was a father figure to Esther. In raising her, he helped establish her faith, as well as her love for God and the Jewish people (Esther 2:7). This bond rightly directed their hearts, their prayers, and their responses throughout their journey.
Going “on-site for insight”: When Esther was taken to the palace, Scripture states, “Every day he (Mordecai) walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.” (Esther 2:11) As a man of prayer, could these have been daily prayer walks? Every day, Mordecai was on-site to listen and learn, seeking the Lord for insight during the twelve months of Esther’s beauty treatments for the king.
Going to the public square: Mordecai also sat at the king’s gate where decisions were made and official business took place (2:19). Whether he was an invited participant or careful observer, he sought to be better informed. He positioned himself at the place where decrees were issued, and verdicts were rendered on behalf of the king and the nation.
Speaking out against corruption: Mordecai’s decision to sit in this place of political activity proved to be significant. He overheard a plot to assassinate the king and reported it to Esther (2:21-23). He did not let fear stop him from alerting the palace of this threat. When the investigation proved the story to be true, the criminals were hanged, and Mordecai’s courageous actions were written in the official record.
Exposing injustice/gaining favor with the king: This seemingly small but significant act granted Mordecai great favor with the king. Unbeknownst to Mordecai or Esther, God planned to use this event later to position Mordecai as a trusted adviser to the king. His willingness to speak up and take action against injustice created a platform for him when much more was at stake.
Standing in the face of intimidation and threats: When Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, the demonically-driven official sought to kill him (3:5-6). Even so, Mordecai didn’t compromise or relent. Despite ridicule and death threats, Mordecai stood his ground and trusted God to vindicate him.
Standing in the gap for the people: Once Mordecai learned of the decree of death to his people, the Bible says he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. (4:1) He humbled himself in front of the whole city in order to bring attention to an injustice against his people. His witness became the example for others to follow throughout the entire province as fellow Jews fasted and wept aloud for their nation.
Being informed and prepared: When asked by an official what he was doing, Mordecai was prepared with a testimony as well as written papers proving his case (4:8). His lament was not without cause. He knew the facts and details and was prepared to share them with the appropriate people.
Speaking the word of the Lord: When Esther responded to Mordecai’s suggestion of appealing to the king for mercy, she was fearful and hesitant. Yet, his word to her became the key that unlocked the door to her destiny: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14) Just as Esther was there “for such a time as this,” so was Mordecai. Without his presence and prophetic declaration to her, Esther may have missed the God-ordained opportunity before her.
Becoming an ambassador of national prayer: When Mordecai took Esther’s request to the Jewish people for a time of national fasting and prayer, he became a conduit of intercession (4:15-17). He championed this national call to prayer and stood in the gap for Esther and their people.
God is strategically placing believers in positions of influence and authority throughout our nation to bring needed transformation. Whether speaking to elected officials, or providing godly counsel and wisdom to those who do, everyone can begin by praying. But just as Mordecai made himself available, we can also choose to add action to our prayers, becoming Christ’s vessels of blessing and breakthrough.