Overview & Background of the Annual Esther Vigil

As you enter the Esther Vigil, we will see deliverance and salvation manifest for those we pray for, much like that which was recorded in the Book of Esther for the Jewish people living in exile: The Jewish people living in Shushan (Susa), the capital of Persia and those living throughout the Persian Empire stood together with Queen Esther and Mordecai as they called for a fast and intercession and then intervened before King Xerxes. They were given favor to write a new decree to counter Hamanís death decree to annihilate all the Jews. Mordecai became second in command of the Persian Empire under the pagan kingís authority. We have favor to intercede before the Father from a greater throne room authority with King Jesus.

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish." So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him. (Est 4: 15-17)

As I compute Estherís fast in the Book of Esther, we find that Hamanís death decree was written against the Jews on Nisan 13, the day before Passover. Estherís 3-day Fast most likely took place following the decree during the Passover Season (Nisan 14-22.) During this time Esther went before King Xerxes and was eventually given the authority with Mordecai to write a counter-decree, bringing deliverance and freedom from death to the Jewish people. This final day of deliverance took place 11 months later and is celebrated and recorded in the Old Testament as the Feast of Purim. Today many among the Jewish people celebrate this day.

The early followers of Jesus Christ celebrated the Jewish Passover feasts, first established when the Jewish people fled from Egypt under the leadership of Moses, on the 14th of Nisan. Jesus instituted the New Covenant with his Jewish disciples on the eve of Passover Nisan 14 before going to the cross. The Passover supper was followed the next day with the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and then the Firstfruits Feast, all culminating on Nisan 22. Our Esther Vigil follows these dates.

Ö that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lordís death till He comes. (1 Cor 11:23-26)

It is interesting to note that the Council of Nicea 1 in 325 AD, decided to celebrate Easter on a different day - instead of during Passover/Firstfruits when Jesus was resurrected. The new non-biblical date was ordered by Constantine and became known in English as ďEasterĒ which is a name taken from a pagan fertility goddess.

The decision was based on the argument that it was not fitting for the Church to celebrate the Lordís death and resurrection and have it connected with "the cursed Jewish nation that crucified him." This unrighteous decree remains to this day. Yet Godís word makes it clear that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. The Passover reflects the finished work of Christ on the cross for every people group on the earth.

Today many followers of Christ gather during the eve of Passover (Nisan 14) for a Passover Seder meal that includes the Lordís Supper instituting the New Covenant in His blood: "For Christ, the Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival..." (1 Cor 5:7-8). They understand and celebrate the fulfillment of Passover in Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God who paid the price for all of our sins. Grace abounds for us as new creations in Christ. There is now no condemnation for those who believe in Him! He has died for all and His free gift of eternal life is given to all who receive it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Col 2:16-17)

Let us remember our Jewish roots and give thanks for our salvation through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, for the Old and New Testament Jewish writers, and for the Jewish believers who first proclaimed the Gospel message to the world. The Gentiles and Jewish followers of Christ are free now from the law that brings death through the new law of life, love and righteousness in Christ. Our celebration of His Passover simply declares this as we come together in remembrance of Him. Glory!

Yeshua died during Passover season for our sins exactly as it was written about him in the Scriptures, saying that He was buried and then was raised on the third day, and that He appeared to Peter and then the twelve. Our redemption through the blood of Messiah, the blameless pure lamb, was known before the foundation of the world, and was revealed in the last days through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning HimselfÖThen He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." (Luke 24:25-27, 44)

The Jewish Feasts of the Lord given through Moses in Leviticus 23 reveal the Fatherís plan of salvation for all of mankind through the Messiah - from His death during Passover to His coming enthronement in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles when He returns to set up His Kingdom.

Instructions for the Prayer Vigil

Within the Esther Prayer Manual you will find an easy to follow Day by Day Prayer Guide, including the 3-Day Esther fast.

Daily insights are given on the Book of Esther along with historic biblical Passover information and New Covenant principles. The daily, Todayís Focus and Prayer Emphasis is a springboard to allow the Holy Spirit to unite us throughout the nations for effective corporate agreement. Also included is a brief discussion of each of the Jewish feasts held during the year to help you to see the overall fulfillment of these feasts in Jesus Christ and how they apply to our life today. The New Covenant revelation gives us our authority as it points us to the prophetic fulfillment of history through Jesus Christ.

As time allows, you may use the added research in the Appendices and the Gateway website for updated informed intercession. However, remember to keep it simple by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you. Do not get caught up in the information. God will sovereignly move as we unite together in one accord intercession.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matt 18:19-20)

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14)

A Year Long Prayer Focus

This Esther Prayer Manual may also be used as a prayer focus throughout the year(s), especially during the Jewish Feasts and their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. These Jewish Feasts are also discussed in the Appendices.

Overview of 9-Day Prayer Vigil & 3-Day Esther Fast

Biblical days begin in the evening and continue the next day (Gen 1:5). Our vigil and Esther Fast will follow this pattern for Passover.

I suggest you quickly review the Book of Esther as well as the Esther Prayer Manual in order to understand the daily focus and the prophetic overall plan for informed intercession. This will help you to gain God's perspective for united intercession. Continue each day to meditate upon the significant scriptures for needed revelation and insight.

Day 1 (Nisan 13) 9-Day Vigil (Nisan 13-21) Begins with Personal Cleansing
Refer to the 9-Day Prayer guide which gives you the daily "Today Focus" and "Prayer Emphasis." (Use the calendar that follows for converting the Jewish dates to our calendar dates.)

Day 2 (Nisan 14) Passover: Our Fellowship Meal/Communion/Esther Fast Begins/Night Watch
Passover Fellowship Meal with Communion: On this eve of Passover (Nisan 14) consider having a fellowship meal with communion served. You might consider ending the 9 days of prayer also with communion. My husband I have taken communion on a daily basis knowing that resurrection life flows from His life. It is a time of remembrance using the Lordís Supper as Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His blood.

Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20)

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Col 2:16-17)

The 3-Day Esther Fast begins tonight, the Eve of Passover (Nisan 14) & ends Nisan 16.

The Night Watch: Following the Passover/Lordís Supper fellowship meal, we will begin the Esther Fast with a night watch Öwatch with Me one hour.

Historically, the solemn observance or night watch took place on the eve of Nisan 14 Passover in Egypt. This night watch is recorded in Exodus 12:42 as the Israelites fled Egypt. It was again recorded on Passover, the eve of Nisan 14 when Jesus asked his disciples to watch with him in the Garden of Gethsemane after He instituted the New Covenant in His blood. Let us not sleep in apathy at this time of need for intersession.

"My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt 26:38-41)

During the night watch consider lighting a candle representing the Lordís abiding presence and His great Light that will shine in the darkness of manís heart as we intercede. The Lord says to you, "I, the Almighty God and My holy angels will behold your heartís cry and surround your times of intercession."

Esther most likely called her 3 day fast during Passover week beginning Nisan 14 after hearing of Hamanís death decree written on Nisan 13. Esther responded to Mordecaiís request to intervene and therefore called for her fast before going to the King to plead for her life and the life of her people. Hamanís decree was sent throughout the empire declaring the proposed annihilation (11 months later) of all the Jewish people in the Persian Empire.

The Feast of Purim celebrates the victorious time of overcoming for the Jewish people. They were given power to protect themselves and overcome their enemies through the authority from King Xerxes to send out a new decree of life.

Day 3 (Nisan 15)
Esther Fast continues with intercession Ė the Esther Fast ends tomorrow on Day 4.

Follow the prayers and guidelines for this day.

Day 4 (Nisan 16)
Esther Fast ends with strategic intercession. Follow the prayers and guidelines for this day.

Days 5-9 (Nisan 17-21)
Prayer Vigil continues. Follow the prayers and guidelines for each day

Jewish Days
Remember the Jewish day begins at sundown and the Passover lambs were sacrificed beginning at about 3:00 PM on that day (Nisan 14/ Passover). That same evening Jesus celebrated the New Covenant Passover meal (the Lordís Supper) with his 12 disciples as the evening led into Nisan 15 - the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That next morning Jesus was crucified at 9 AM and died at 3:00 PM. Before sundown on the day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), Jesus was buried in the tomb before sundown. This took place before the Sabbath day where Jesus remained in the tomb (Nisan 16). Early in the morning of the third day (Nisan17) Jesus was resurrected - the day the priests wave the sheaf of Firstfruits. This always takes place on the day after the Sabbath and would have been Nisan 17 of that year on the Hebrew calendar. (I am aware that there are others who interpret these dates differently.)

Some historians record that during Christís time the Sadducees and Pharisees sacrificed the Passover lambs on two different days - one group on the 14th of Nisan and the other on the 15th of Nisan.

Beloved, the dates are important, but remember our emphasis is on the scriptural facts declaring the victory that Jesus Christ fulfilled during all three Passover Feasts (Nisan 14-21 /Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Firstfruits), declaring His eternal victory of deliverance and salvation for the Jews and Gentiles alike, the "one new man."

Estherís Fast & Our Fast Today
The Fast of Esther (Esther 4:14-17) is still relevant for us today as we enter into new places of spiritual authority and walk in favor before God Almighty. Like Esther and Mordecai, we must work together this hour to defeat the enemy's plan to hinder Godís destiny and inheritance for the nations. God desires that all men be saved; Satan desires to thrust multitudes into eternal separation from the forever love of Yahweh. Our CommanderĖin-Chief has won the victory and has given us all authority in His name! In Him we can prevail in intercession with acts of intervention to bring restoration. As we obey Godís directions during and after the prayer vigil, we can orchestrate the changes that God decrees from heaven for the earth. We must keep our eyes on His victory in our lives and pray from that joyous position and revelation from the third heaven that reveals Godís will. Second heaven revelation about the enemy isnít sufficient for breakthrough. It only distracts and hinders our prayer perspective.

In Estherís time, her fast was of national and international magnitude and revealed a crises time needing intervention for the deliverance and protection of virtually all the Jewish people living at that time. Like Esther, our fast and prayer vigil is only the beginning. Freedom for the Jewish people from destruction did not come until eleven months later when the Jews overpowered their enemies through the favor gained by Esther and Mordecai with King Xerxes. We too will need to walk out our callings before God after the vigil. This means different things for each of us as the Lord leads. We must take our ordained stand for the nations and stand with those in positions of godly influence.

In Christ Jesus we have authority to use our spiritual weapons to birth and bring forth the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. One of these powerful weapons is still found in fasting! During our Esther fast we will use the fast and all the spiritual weapons that are ours to bring breakthrough.

The Scriptures reveal that fasting and prayer are frequently bound together because fasting is often a spiritual time of personal preparation combined with a time of concentrated prayer for your needs and for others (Ezra 8:21Ė23; Psa 35:13; Dan 9:3; Acts 13:3) .

Remember the blessings of God come from our position in Christ Jesus as we rest in His finished work on the cross and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not fast to receive favor and blessing; they are already bestowed upon us as we walk in His Spirit and divine will. His grace is sufficient in our weakness.

There are strategic times that God calls use to humble ourselves and intervene in situations that need intervention and change. For our fasting to be effective it must be accompanied by sincere humility before the Lord as recorded in Joel 2:12Ė13 and Matt. 6:16 -18. Keep in mind that when fasting becomes a religious ritual, it accomplishes nothing in the eyes of the Lord, and the only reward is being seen by men with no true spiritual purpose accomplished.

Remember as believers, we continue to battle from the perspective of our victory in Christ! The battle is not ours, but the Lordís as we enter into praise with the joy of the Lord. We enter intercession to enforce Godís will on earth as it is in heaven. Our time of voluntary fasting is only one aspect of the weapons of our warfare for the spiritual battles we face. We too will "pass over" into new places of victory and authority in our lives as we intercede and act on behalf of others for their breakthroughs.

As you begin the vigil you will find decrees, declarations, prayers for yourself /your family, and prayer groups/churches. When we personally repent and cleanse ourselves and find freedom from strongholds, we gain authority in these very areas so that we can free others through intercession and proclamation. This will allow us to step into taking the necessary actions to free others. With fasting, we simply give emphasis to our genuine heart cry before God! His grace and favor is already upon us. Your fasting just underscores it.

Isaiah 58 reveals several key scriptural admonitions on the attitudes and actions that we must walk in.

Guidelines for the 3-Day Esther Fast
The Esther Fast is an "absolute fast" with no food or water. Such a fast reveals the seriousness of the time involved. Like Esther and the Jewish people, we too will fast for deliverance and salvation for those we are praying.

Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish! (Est 4:16)

Even though the Esther fast covers 3-days, we will not fast for a full 72 hours, but follow a 48 hour fast which still covers 3 days. Many scholars record the three day Esther fast as 40-48 hours, calculated by the events in the book of Esther. We will follow this three day outline of 48 hours during the fast.

You need to be directed by the Lord if you fast for a full 72 hours without food and water knowing that doctors would say that our bodies should not go without water for more than three days. If the 3-Day Esther Fast is physically impossible for you or the Lord directs you differently, consider joining with another person, each taking a portion of the hours without food and water, but continuing to pray each day.

Historically
Historically the Esther fast was called during an extreme desperate time for the Israelites as Esther, Mordecai and the Jewish people faced mass annihilation. This situation points back to the first Passover as the lambs were slain by the chosen Israelite people before fleeing Egypt for their freedom from slavery. The Israelites had just experienced deliverance from the mass destruction of the death angel as they celebrated Godís commanded Passover by spreading the blood of the sacrificed lambs upon the doorposts and lintels of their household. This First Passover points forward to Jesus Christ the Passover Lamb of God as He instituted the New Covenant Passover meal in His blood before He faced the cross and declared "it is finished" ( Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20).

Today
Today the Esther Prayer Vigil and Fast is meant to cover specific nations/people groups that face eternal death and separation often ushered in through national unresolved abuses & tribal conflicts. In the nations there are warlords and rebel groups that inflict mass annihilation. Whole nations are lead by leaders bent on destroying other nations.

Many people groups face generational wounds and bitterness (ancient desolations). These issues keep them in bondage along with unrighteous laws. Many of these ongoing generational deceptions and abuses are not understood and seldom resolved. The true believing Church has the only eternal answers that can free these people groups and nations. We must be diligent to declare the gospel, bring healing and transformation to the individuals/groups. Only the love of Jesus and His forgiveness can birth the internal new creation of our spirit by faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. We also must stand up and voice the needed reconciliation and national changes to bring healing to ancient atrocities and broken treaties/promises.

Psalms 2 tells us to "ask for the Nations". This is what our Esther prayer fast is all about!

Esther Prayer Vigil Calendar & Fast Dates: 2010-2025
(Calendar Dates Coincide with Hebrew Calendar for Passover Week)

Date Hebrew Dates for Feasts
Nisan 14th-21st (Luke 22:1)
Passover/Unleavened Bread/ First Fruits
9-Day Esther Fast & Prayer Vigil
Nisan 13th -21st
Passover/Unleavened Bread/First Fruits
2010 (Nisan 14-21) - March 29-April 5 March 28-April 5
2011 (Nisan 14-21) - April 18-25 April 18-26
2012 (Nisan 14-21) - April 6-13 April 5-13
2013 (Nisan 14-21) - March 25-April 1 March 24-April 1
2014 (Nisan 14-21) - April 14-21 April 13-21
2015 (Nisan 14-21) - April 3-10 April 2-10
2016 (Nisan 14-21) - April 22-29 April 21-29
2017 (Nisan 14-21) - April 10-17 April 9-17
2018 (Nisan 14-21) - March 30-April 6 March 29-April 6
2019 (Nisan 14-21) - April 19-26 April 18-26
2020 (Nisan 14-21) - April 8-15 April 7-15
2021 (Nisan 14-21) - March 27-April 3 March 26-April 3
2022 (Nisan 14-21) - April 15-22 April 14-22
2023 (Nisan 14-21) - April 5-12 April 4-12
2024 (Nisan 14-21) - April 22-29 April 21-29
2025 (Nisan 14-21) - April 12-19 April 11-19

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