Esther (“star” in Persian), the cousin of Mordecai, was a Benjamite who had been raised by him. Most probably her folks died when she was very young. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah, meaning “myrtle” in Hebrew. Being lovely in form and features, and very beautiful, she was taken into the harem of King Xerxes awaiting his choice. Because of missteps by the queen, Esther was eventually selected to be the king’s queen in the court.Because of jealousy and envy by a court officer, Haman, Mordecai and the entire nation of God’s people became at risk. The king had unknowingly accepted a devious plan from Haman to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom. When Mordecai learned of the plot, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth with ashes, and went into the midst of the city with loud and bitter crying. When Esther’s young women and eunuchs heard of this, they told Esther, who sent one of the king’s eunuchs to go to him and learn what the issues were. Mordecai informed him of the situation, gave him a copy of the decree to kill the Jews on a day appointed, and challenged Esther to show it to the king and beg his favor for her people.When Esther heard Mordecai’s advice, she reminded him that she had not seen the king for many days, and that no man or woman could go into his presence without being called, and the law is that, if they do, they would be put to death. Only the king holding out his scepter to that person would prevent their execution. Mordecai replied that she shouldn’t think that she would escape any more than any other Jew; she and her father’s house would perish. He then gave a word that has now become famous: “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther understood, asked for a three-day fast, and promised to go to the king, though it was against the law, and concluded, “And if I perish, I perish.” Esther’s willingness to put her life at risk for the sake of her people made her more than a patriot for the Jews: it revealed her heart to be like that of the Lord Jesus, who laid down his life for his people. Her willingness to sacrifice saved her people alive.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, our Father, your daughter Esther knew what was at stake in going to the king without being called, and yet she went anyway, being more than willing to sacrifice her very life for the rescue of her people. Give us that same heart, that heart of sacrifice and surrender, that allows us to place our lives in jeopardy for the sake of those who do not know or believe in you. In Christ’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
~ Psalm 121.1-4
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus, make me a servant, ever willing to risk my everything for the sake of seeing others rescued and delivered.