If you are familiar with the book of Esther, you know that God is never specifically mentioned in the book. So, if you already knew that, you’re probably also wondering where Esther’s prayer is. And that would be a valid question. There’s just one problem. It’s not there!
However, if you already finished today’s reading, you might want to go back and read Psalm 71 again. While it is not entitled “Esther’s Prayer,” there is some evidence it does have ties to the first part of the captivity (For context Esther takes place during the Medio-Persian part of the captivity after the fall of Babylon. It is possible that Ahasuerus was the father of Darius, the king in the book of Daniel).
If it was a psalm among the Jews during the captivity, it’s not hard to see Esther praying this prayer to God during the fasting she talks about in the end of Esther 4.
In this psalm, we see prayer for wisdom (v 1), deliverance (vs 2,4), comfort (v 12), and thwarting of the plans of the wicked (v 13). However, if you’ll notice, each part of this prayer, from verse 1 to verse 24, focuses not principally on the person praying, but on God. Verse 5 summarizes the psalmist’s position. “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.” Regardless of the situation, there is confidence in God’s character. And you’ll also note that there is a repetition of desire for God to receive glory from the situation. Verse 8 says “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.” Verses 14, 15, 17, 18, and 22-24 all express the praise of God.
Fortunately, you have never been in Esther’s shoes. Your choice to identify with Christ has never risked the lives of so many people. But what if it did? What if someone threatened to kill everyone in our church if you said that you identified with Christ? Would you do it? Or would you cower away in the shadows until danger had passed? Fortunately, at least for now, the extent of our persecution might be a little bit of mockery (I have many nicknames at work, like “Father Cutler” or “Reverend”). But it is our constant trust in God from day to day that will hold us anchored to Him in times of difficulty. If you aren’t developing that trust now, when those trials come, it will be more difficult for you to say, “thou art my trust from my youth.”
So while we don’t know exactly what Esther prayed, this Psalm puts into words the trust that she displayed in God and her determination that, no matter the cost, she would trust Him for the outcome. May Psalm 71 be our prayer today as well. “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.”