An increasing number of Christians are realizing the place Israel has in God’s plan, and many are eager to pray for Israel, but many don’t know how or what to pray for specifically. In this article I want to teach you how to pray deeply and effectively for Israel, making you an active participant in God’s prophetic work.
1.Understand that Prayer is a Sacrifice, for your own benefit.
Many people forget that the ability to pray is a gift from God. When we pray we not only make an offering of our hopes, concerns and sorrows for God to act upon, we must also spend time truly searching our souls for what to speak to God about. Much as Abel learned what bounty of the fields he truly valued in order to know what to sacrifice to God, prayer allows us to understand what truly matters to us. It allows us to move above casual day to day concerns and focus on our spiritual health, the lives of those closest to us, and our true moral priorities. It forces us to be honest with ourselves as well, the more time we spend in prayer the more we must interrogate ourselves about what we truly want, it forces us to deal with our sins at the same moment we are closest to God’s redemptive Love.
2. Understand the our role in God’s Plan for Israel.
I think most of my readers are concerned with the state of Israel, particularly the defence of the small and besieged nation. We must remember however that Israel is not just the only true democracy in the Middle East, or the safe keeper of Christian holy places. It is a center of God’s continued attention and Plan. God is continually attentive to the safety and welfare of its people. He has given Christians instructions on how to be an active player in His ongoing works in Israel. These instructions are found throughout Scripture. Romans 15:27 states regarding Christians helping Jews, “They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.” Genesis 12:3 reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
3. Pray knowing God’s purposes will be fulfilled.
Matthew 7:7 reads, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Over twenty centuries Jews have prayed for God to allow them to return to Israel, but many lost faith in God’s power, as many also lost faith while they wondered in the desert. Just as they had to be led away from Pharaoh to find peace in the Promised Land, God’s opening a way into the Holy Land happened in the aftermath of the Holocaust. To me there is something undeniably biblical about the story of modern Israel, and God’s hand is undeniably part of that. How else could a people who suffered the first and largest true Genocide find themselves living in the Land God promised them, safe even surrounded by its enemies? The story of Israel is Biblical in that it is a lesson as well for Christians. If the Jews can wait near 2000 years, faithfully for God’s purpose to be revealed, what a lesson for us in our own lives as well. No matter what our circumstances, poverty, sickness, loneliness; God is always there for us.
4. Pray for the safety of Israelis in these tenuous times.
The Middle East is a far more dangerous place today than previously, and Israel’s safety is tenuous, even behind its Iron Dome and military. God instructs us to be deeply concerned with its protection. Psalm 122:6 instructs us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” “Peace” in the newspapers is something cheap, often little more than a brief respite from violence and war, but in the Bible, God uses a much more complete definition. Shalom means peace, but also wholeness, physically and spiritually. Peace is an absence of violence yes, but more importantly it is serenity, fellowship and oneness with God. By praying for the Peace of Jerusalem one is praying to find their own prosperity, the prosperity of their Nation, and to ascend to a place where God’s power can be seen clearly.
5. Pray for the health of the people of Israel
Many people are aware of the military threat to Israel’s survival, but few know the tremendous sacrifices needed for Israel’s security have caused poverty and hunger to go unabated. Right now one in three school children are forced to go to school hungry, and tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors relive the privations of their tragic childhoods in camps. Isaiah 40:1 states, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” Keep in mind our quote from Romans above as well. I believe we have a biblical mandate to assist the people of Israel in a way that saves them from the suffering and indignities of poverty, especially among the children and the elderly. Our prayers should reflect this as well.