I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey for us, our children, and all our property. 22 I was embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy along the way, because we had said to the king, "The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger is on everyone who forsakes him." 23 So we fasted and prayed to our God about this, and he answered us.
I like this passage. Ezra is leading a group to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. He gathers the heads of the families and arranges to set off on the long walk to Israel. But before they leave, he calls for a fast.
I love Ezra's explanation for the fast: he was afraid and he was embarrassed. He made some bold statements to the Persian king, "The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger is on everyone who forsakes him," but then he was afraid that someone would mug them on the road to Jerusalem. He wanted soldiers for protection, but he was embarrassed to ask for them because of his God-talk.
Honest words from Ezra preserved for eternity.