So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. (Ezra 8:23 ESV)
Brief summary of Ezra 8:21-23 by Philip Brown.
“After the arrival of the Levites, Ezra calls a fast to “humble ourselves before our God and to seek from Him a straight road” (8:21 ). Ezra’s action models the humble dependence upon God that should characterize His people. This ties in with the narrative’s constant exposure of God’s role in human history. For Ezra, even the safety of his journey was dependent upon God. In 8:22 , he admits a desire to avail himself of human protection but realizes that to do so would undermine his testimony to the king: “The hand of our God is upon all those who are seeking Him for good, and His strength and His anger are against all those abandoning Him” (8:22 ). Ezra recognizes that man’s behavior and God’s character are the two factors that co-determine the relationship between them. If men will seek Him, God will bless them. On the other hand, God will not sit idly by when His people abandon Him. His strong wrath will surely descend upon their heads. This is the principle that motivates Ezra to lean hard upon the Lord and not upon the arm of flesh.”
We can see the importance of prayer and fasting in this scripture. Prayer and fasting does not change God’s mind but rather makes God’s will to be done.
Through praying and fasting we express our full trust in The Lord for His will to be done. Through difficult times we should seek The Lord in all humility through prayer and fasting just as Ezra and His people did.