7 day plan

Prayer – our passport to God

Day 3 of 7


Ezra 8:21

Preparing to Return

21I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us, our dependents, and all our possessions.

Reflection:  Here in this one verse are some simple guidelines for prayer. Ezra was leading the Children of Israel on a journey back to Jerusalem and they started with prayer. Prayer for: their journey, their selves, their children, and their goods. The prayer started with hardship – Ezra called on the people to fast, so that their hearts would be ready to pray.

It is a reminder that unless we do some things practically – in the natural – we won’t have the impact on the spiritual. God expects us to act in his name.

Prayer changes us, as John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, so eloquently described: “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”

Prayer: Father God,help me to be satisfied with who I am in you. Thank you for your word which sets out principles for how to pray. Praise your name in the highest heavens. Open my eyes to the needs you call me to address. In your Son’s precious name, Amen.


Ezra 8:1-36

Those Returning with Ezra

1These are the family heads and the genealogical records of those who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

2Gershom, from Phinehas’s descendants;

Daniel, from Ithamar’s descendants;

Hattush, from David’s descendants,

3who was of Shecaniah’s descendants;

Zechariah, from Parosh’s descendants,

and 150 men with him who were registered by genealogy;

4Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah

from Pahath-moab’s descendants,

and 200 men with him;

5Shecaniah son of Jahaziel

from Zattu’s descendants,

and 300 men with him;

6Ebed son of Jonathan

from Adin’s descendants,

and 50 men with him;

7Jeshaiah son of Athaliah

from Elam’s descendants,

and 70 men with him;

8Zebadiah son of Michael

from Shephatiah’s descendants,

and 80 men with him;

9Obadiah son of Jehiel

from Joab’s descendants,

and 218 men with him;

10Shelomith son of Josiphiah

from Bani’s descendants,

and 160 men with him;

11Zechariah son of Bebai

from Bebai’s descendants,

and 28 men with him;

12Johanan son of Hakkatan

from Azgad’s descendants,

and 110 men with him;

13these are the last ones, from Adonikam’s descendants,

and their names are

Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah,

and 60 men with them;

14Uthai and Zaccur

from Bigvai’s descendants,

and 70 men with them.

15I gathered them at the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there for three days. I searched among the people and priests, but found no Levites there. 16Then I summoned the leaders: Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, as well as the teachers Joiarib and Elnathan. 17I sent them to Iddo, the leader at Casiphia, with a message for him and his brothers, the temple servants at Casiphia, that they should bring us ministers for the house of our God. 18Since the gracious hand of our God was on us, they brought us Sherebiah — a man of insight from the descendants of Mahli, a descendant of Levi son of Israel — along with his sons and brothers, 18 men, 19plus Hashabiah, along with Jeshaiah, from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and their sons, 20 men. 20There were also 220 of the temple servants, who had been appointed by David and the leaders for the work of the Levites. All were identified by name.

Preparing to Return

21I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us, our dependents, and all our possessions. 22I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his fierce anger is against all who abandon him.” 23So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and he was receptive to our prayer.

24I selected twelve of the leading priests, along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers. 25I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles — the contribution for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his leaders, and all the Israelites who were present had offered. 26I weighed out to them 24 tons of silver, silver articles weighing 7,500 pounds, 7,500 pounds of gold, 27twenty gold bowls worth a thousand gold coins, and two articles of fine gleaming bronze, as valuable as gold. 28Then I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, and the articles are holy. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your ancestors. 29Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the Lord’s house before the leading priests, Levites, and heads of the Israelite families in Jerusalem.” 30So the priests and Levites took charge of the silver, the gold, and the articles that had been weighed out, to bring them to the house of our God in Jerusalem.

Arrival in Jerusalem

31We set out from the Ahava River on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. We were strengthened by our God, and he kept us from the grasp of the enemy and from ambush along the way. 32So we arrived at Jerusalem and rested there for three days. 33On the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the articles were weighed out in the house of our God into the care of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with him. The Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui were also with them. 34Everything was verified by number and weight, and the total weight was recorded at that time.

35The exiles who had returned from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, and seventy-seven lambs, along with twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering for the Lord. 36They also delivered the king’s edicts to the royal satraps and governors of the region west of the Euphrates, so that they would support the people and the house of God.