Prayer in the Midst of War
July 16, 2014
On July 15, 2014 several Palestinian Christian Leaders went to a prayer meeting in a Messianic Congregation in Carmiel. On the same day, many Israeli soldiers are part of bombarding Gaza and many Palestinians are shooting rockets at Israel. No doubt, we have different political views as well as different theological perceptions. We have different languages and different cultural values yet we both belong to the body of the Messiah. Focusing on the Messiah is no doubt the best way for us to be together. This was the main spirit of the meeting. At the entrance of the church there was a verse written on the wall. It says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). It was written in Arabic and Hebrew.
The meeting started with repentance and a sincere cry for a spiritual awakening in the country. I was truly impressed by the sincere prayers seeking the forgiveness of God not only at the level of the individual but also at the level of the whole nation. People cried out before God as sinners seeking divine mercies. I was quickly able to identity myself as a sinner. This united us. We are a group of sinners in the presence of a Holy God. We can only compete in our confessions instead of claiming moral superiority. Our confessional prayers were followed by prayers for the salvation of both Jews and Palestinians. We prayed for Israeli leaders and for Palestinian leaders. We asked God to grant them wisdom and the ability to spread peace, not war.
Admittedly, there were few theological areas that I would disagree with and there were disturbing political views embedded in few prayers. However, I was continually reminded that I am a sinner in the presence of a Holy God. Further, I am in the presence of sincere followers of Jesus who are humbling themselves and reaching out with a worldview rooted in biblical love, peacemaking, and repentance. I am now wondering: how to embody these prayers in our daily decisions? How can these prayers impact our vote? How can we our unity in the Messiah influence our theology and even our political realities? No doubt this is a great prayer meeting and the one who started a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). Please continue to pray for unity in the body of the Messiah among both Palestinian and Israelis.