Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him." So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
This was brave faith put into action. I am impressed that Ezra would let his faith in God overshadow and guide even a political and personally invested decision such as this. Basically Ezra wanted to put the truth of God's Word to the test in real life. He had already told the king that God protected His people. To ask for a military escort to protect them and their valuables going back to Jerusalem would have seemed a betrayal of that faith. So instead, a solemn time of prayer and fasting is called to ask for God's caring protection.
I don't know that I have Ezra's kind of faith. I probably would have borrowed an armored car and a dozen cops, at least! But Ezra's bold faith was exactly what was needed. The Lord wanted to bless that faith. And He did. He protected everyone and everything as Ezra's contingent arrived in Jerusalem fully intact.
The reward for bold faith and obedient practice is answered prayer. God will honor those who honor Him by putting His Word above their own fears and failures. He will deliver His own. And Ezra's cautious confidence in God is exactly the kind of faith I need to study. Lord, give me insight into that kind of bold belief!