PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
The Bible tells us to pray for a whole range of things – for example we are told to pray for kings and for those in authority, for our enemies, for one another, for God's kingdom to come and for God's will to be done – plus many more things.
However, important though all these prayer subjects are – there is one prayer subject that should also demand our full attention. Psalm122:6 tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 62:6-7 slightly expands on that theme – “I have set watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem, they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord do not keep silent and give him no rest until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
The question we must surely ask is – “Why Jerusalem?” Every city on earth needs prayer so why should God single out Jerusalem for special mention?
The fact is – God chose Israel to be his special people for his own good reasons, he also chose Jerusalem out of all the places in Israel and indeed the world.
Psalm 132 spells it our beautifully and powerfully – “For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling place. This is my resting place forever, here will I dwell for I have desired it.”
Not only is Jerusalem central to Israel and Judaism, it is also central to Christianity – because Jesus died there, he rose again from there, he ascended back to heaven from there and one day in the future his feet will again
stand on the Mt of Olives.
Almost all of biblical history in both Old and New Testaments are concentrated there. Naturally Jerusalem is not the most beautiful city on earth, but spiritually it is incredibly significant simply because God put his name and presence there – without which it would no different to any other city.
God has a habit of choosing the unlikely to fulfil his purposes – like Israel, Moses, David, the twelve disciples, Saul of Tarsus to mention but a few of unlikely candidates for God's favour.
There is no doubt that Jerusalem is the single biggest issue in the world today (Zechariah 12). It dominates the United Nations, Europe and the Arab world.
Almost all of the nations of the world continue to insist that Jerusalem is 'occupied territory' and yet when Israel retook Jerusalem back it wasn't so much Arabs they took it from but Jordan who had occupied it for 19 years.
Currently only about three nations recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital whilst the rest remain very strongly opposed. There will never be peace on earth until the status of Jerusalem is resolved.
Jerusalem is far more than central geographically – it is central spiritually and prophetically. Daniel discovered this when he prayed for Jerusalem in Daniel 9 – nothing has changed. And we know that although Jesus predicted the demise of Jerusalem he also predicted a distant future for Jerusalem.
Luke 21 tells us – “And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all the nations (AD 70) and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
The key word in that passage is UNTIL. There is a clear starting point and a clear ending point.
Therefore, if the Jews are displaced by the Gentiles for a season and then the Gentiles are themselves displaced it surely follows that the Jewish people come back into the picture.
We are living in those very days right now. Therefore, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem we are praying right in the centre of God's will.
The NT equivalent of that prayer is to pray for God's kingdom (rule) to come.
There is also a promise attached to those who pray for Jerusalem – 'may they prosper that love thee.'
This corresponds to God's promise to Abraham – 'those that bless you I will bless.’
So, let's keep our eye on the ball – Jerusalem remains central to God's purposes and by obeying his command to pray we play a vital role in bringing his purposes to pass.
Mervyn Tilley – Chairman
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