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Esther, the little orphaned Jewish girl who lived in a foreign country, had grown up to be queen. Her cousin Mordecai had raised her to love and honor God, but he had also told her not to tell anyone she was Jewish. Mordecai didn’t want the king to change his mind about Esther.

Because Mordecai worked in the palace, he could send Esther messages and advice. Esther was always glad to hear from him.

One day after Esther had been queen for about five years, she got a very important message from Mordecai. The king’s important helper, Haman, had tricked the king into making a terrible new law. This new law said that on a certain date the people of Persia could hurt all the Jewish people and take everything they owned. “You must ask the king to save the lives of all your people,” Mordecai said.

Esther sent a message back to Mordecai. “I am afraid. The king hasn’t asked to see me for more than a month, and I’m not allowed to go see him.” No one, not even the queen, was allowed to go into the king’s inner court without being invited. Anyone who did would be killed, unless the king held out his royal scepter [point to the scepter on page 20].

Mordecai sent another message. “Don’t think that you will escape because you live in the king’s house. Maybe you were made queen by God just to help your people.”

Esther made up her mind. She sent a message back to Mordecai. “Gather all the Jews in the city. For three days don’t eat anything. Spend all your time praying. My maids and I will do the same thing. On the third day, I will go and see the king, and if I die, I die.”

On the third day, Esther said a last prayer and put on her royal robes. Bravely she walked into the king’s inner court.

The king looked up. Who would dare to come before him without an invitation? Why, it was Esther! The king smiled and held out his golden scepter. “What is it, Queen Esther?” he asked. “Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

Esther reached out and touched the tip of the scepter. Then she invited the king to two special dinners. At the second dinner she told the king she was Jewish. And she asked him to change the terrible law that would hurt her and her people.

The king knew then that he had been tricked into making such a horrible law. But the law could not be changed. So he wrote a new law that said that the Jews could protect themselves. When the day came, no one tried to hurt them.

The Jewish people had been saved by Esther’s bravery and their prayers. God had heard the prayers of all the people. God still hears our prayers, whether we pray alone or with others. He is a wonderful God who cares for us all the time.