“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava that we might deny ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him. However, his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. So we fasted. We petitioned our God for this. He listened to our entreaty.”
Ezra, “I”, proclaimed a 3 day fast at the River Ahava. They wanted to prepare for the journey ahead, which if like 80 years earlier would be about 4 or 5 months. They wanted God to protect them, their children, and their possessions. Ezra, “I”, was ashamed to ask the king for army protection. He believed that the gracious God would protect them. They fasted so that God would hear their petition. Their request was granted. All went well.