The Psalmist encourages us to pray for Israel, but believers may not fully appreciate the reasons why God instructs us to pray specifically for Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Yet, our motivation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is embedded in the very words of the Psalmist themselves:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a prayer for physical and spiritual peace—which only comes through the Prince of Peace. Praying for peace reminds us that human beings are incapable of creating peace for themselves and that only God can bring peace to a broken world this side of heaven (Phil 4:6-7) and in the world to come (Isa 2:2-4; 11:6-9).
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is, in reality, praying for Jesus to return, as peace will only come to the world when He takes His rightful throne in Jerusalem and reigns forever (Matt 23:37ff; Rev. 11:15). Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a way of asking God to implant His peace in the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles by personally accepting the Prince of Peace as Lord of their lives.
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem also brings blessings to those who pray, especially as God views our prayers as blessing the Jewish people (Gen 12:3). God still has plans for the chosen people. As Paul reminds us, “they are loved on account of the patriarchs” (Rom. 11:28-29).
How should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
The following might give you some ideas about how to pray for the peace of Jerusalem more effectively:
1. Pray for Jewish Israeli and Palestinian leaders to both negotiate a temporary, politically-based peace and to also find peace in their hearts through accepting Jesus. These are the people we should pray for at this time: Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) and Khaled Meshaal (Hamas); as well our leaders in the U.S., President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
We can pray that God guides these leaders to make decisions that bring peace instead of war and suffering for their citizens.
2. Pray for the work of God’s people in bringing the message of the gospel to the almost 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. By God’s grace, Chosen People Ministries has been able to enjoy a growing ministry among these precious people.
During the recent conflict with Hamas our staff was able to provide care for many of these survivors, both materially and spiritually. One of them describes the peace of heart he has now experienced through receiving Jesus as Messiah and Lord:
“Something happened in my life when I went to Poland on a Chosen People Ministries Israel trip for Holocaust survivors. I received a Bible, which I read day and night while we were in Poland. Since then, I have dedicated myself to reading Scripture and studying. I was baptized and know fully that Jesus the Jewish Messiah has died and conquered death for me!”
Your prayers can make a difference serving this treasured community, which may die out within a decade.
3. Pray for the quiet reconciliation efforts of Jewish and Arab believers in Israel seeking to encourage one another by developing deeper relationships between the Jewish and Palestinian Church. There are over 140 congregations in Israel, ranging from small house fellowships to established places of worship. Pray that the work of the Prince of Peace will grow among Jewish Israelis and Palestinians and that they are enabled to provide a powerful witness of Messiah’s reconciliation among their neighbors.
4. Pray for God to help the church in the United States to be better informed about what is happening in Israel and to find ways to glean information for continued prayer outside of the slanted approach of the media.
5. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem reminds us of our blessed hope! Even though peace is elusive today, it is still our prophetic destiny. As Isaiah the prophet writes, “He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Is 2:4).
The Shalom we are seeking is now available for all people, as this peace transcends the terror of ISIL, the war with Hamas and whatever conflict or suffering this world thrusts upon us. Jesus said,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
His peace is all we need today to keep our hearts from being consumed with fear. His peace is our destiny, as one day the Prince of Peace will arrive from heaven and establish His throne in Jerusalem (Isa 2, 9:6-7).
Praying for Israel and the Jewish people reminds us of the Shalom the Lord has planned for all humanity. There is a beautiful Jewish prayer that sheds new light on Psalm 122:6.
May He who makes peace in the heavens make peace descend upon us and all Israel, and let us say, Amen!
Dr. Mitch Glaser is president of Chosen People Ministries. His latest project is The People, the Land and the Future of Israel: A Biblical Theology of Israel and the Jewish People from Kregel Publishing. Dr. Glaser collaborated with several scholars to present important historical, theological, and contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish people from numerous angles. Please visit chosenpeople.com.