Why Young Christians Should Pray for Israel?

...Or maybe should is an understatement. Maybe young Christians must pray for Israel, as a response to a timeless command from God the Father.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in the evangelical church for most of my life. From a young age, my mother instilled a sense of the importance of Israel in my heart. I was constantly reminded that Israel was of great importance and should be loved and supported -- but I never knew why.

I spent years in college, university, and later Bible college -- even seminary, and I still never quite understood why my mother had an unwavering devotion to Israel.

By God's grace, He has revealed to me several angles for why we should pray for Israel, and I believe He's mandated me to share them with my generation, which lies on either side of the dividing line between gen z and millennials.

Here are four reasons why young Christians should pray for Israel:

1) Biblical Significance

I always want to begin this discussion in the Scriptures, because at the end of the day, they are God's promise to us as His followers. If we examine different areas where God inspired authors to speak to the importance of Israel, we will find that overall, the biblical significance of praying for Israel lies in the recognition of Israel's special status as a chosen people and the fulfillment of God's promises to them. Praying for Israel also helps to align oneself with God's purposes and to express solidarity with the Jewish people.

The Holy Land is the land where Jesus lived, taught, died, and rose again, and the Jewish people are God's chosen people and according to His word, He has a very special plan for them. Throughout the Old Testament, it is obvious that God's passion forever burns for Israel. 

Let's look at a few Old Testament passages that relate to God's stance towards Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:10 describes YHWH's passion beautifully:

In a desert land, he found him (Israel),

in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him (Israel) and cared for him (Israel);
he guarded him (Israel) as the apple of his eye,

Israel is featured in the author's idiom describing the Hebrew people as 'the apple of God's eye'.

The apple of the eye refers to the pupil -- the essential, precious, and cherished portion of the eye without which vision is impossible. God considers Israel worthy of being cherished and protected.

Another translation of 'apple of His eye' changes it to 'little man of His eye'. God sees Himself in the Jewish people.

Genesis 12:2-3 describes God's passion for Israel as well:

And I will make of you (Israel) a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you (Israel), and him who dishonours (Israel) I will curse, and in you (Israel) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

It is a part of the Christian's mandate to bless Israel, and what better way can we bless those we care about than to lift them up in prayer and supplication?

Furthermore, praying for Israel is also important because it is a way to express solidarity with the Jewish people and to support their right to exist as a sovereign nation. 

In Jeremiah 29:7, God commands His people to pray for the welfare of the city in which they dwell, which includes praying for the welfare of the nation in which they live.

7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Our prayer is our ministry to His chosen people, and in it, our God is well pleased.

Our mandate to pray for Israel is also included in the New Testament.

Praying for Israel is also important because it is a way to align oneself with God's plans and purposes for the world. In Romans 11:25-26, the apostle Paul speaks of the importance of the salvation of Israel, saying that "all Israel will be saved." This indicates that God has a special plan for Israel and that praying for their salvation and redemption is significant.

2) Historical Connection

Christians also have a historical connection to Israel, as the early church was largely based in the Holy Land. Many of the events in the Bible took place in Israel, and Christians have a deep respect for the Jewish people and their culture.

This significance of the land of Israel is clear when we look at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and the Church of Annunciation in the northern region. Many crucial events from the religion's history occurred in this region, including the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus).

Obviously, many Christians do have an inherent compass beckoning them toward Israel. Christian pilgrimage is responsible for nearly 700,000 individuals per year. Trends are indicating that this number is increasing every year. This beckoning felt by many followers of YHWH is certainly the work of the Spirit calling His young followers towards the Holy Land.

3) Geopolitical Importance

We are living in a fast-moving and unprecedented world in 2023. Gen Z and millennials who are called to follow YHWH are charged with doing so in a post-Christendom and also a post-evangelical world where to be a Christian is to be, in every way, counter-cultural. One thing that both Christians and unbelievers alike can agree with, is the geopolitical importance of Israel.

Israel is an extremely important country in the Middle East, and its stability and security are important for the region as a whole. Young Christians may pray for peace in the region, and for the safety of all people living in Israel and the surrounding areas.

Perhaps as young Christians today, we have an even greater responsibility to remember God's chosen people in our prayers because of our:

1) Access to information: Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with widespread access to the internet and social media, which has allowed them to easily access information about social issues and injustices around the world. This has made them more aware and knowledgeable about issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, and inequality than previous generations.

2) Diversity and inclusion: Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history, and they have grown up in a society that is more accepting of diversity and inclusion than previous generations. This has led them to be more passionate about social justice issues, such as fighting against discrimination and inequality.

3) Collective Empathy: Gen Z is often characterized as being more empathetic than previous generations. They are more likely to care about the well-being of others, including those who are marginalized or disadvantaged. This empathy has fueled their passion for social justice and fighting for a more equitable society.

4) Propensity Towards Activism: Gen Z has grown up in a time when social and political issues have become more polarized, and they have witnessed the power of social media to bring about change. As a result, many members of this generation have become activists, using their voices and platforms to raise awareness and effect change.

4) Spiritual Importance

Praying for Israel can be a way for young Christians to grow in their faith and deepen their relationship with God. Prayer can help to cultivate a sense of compassion, empathy, and humility, as well as a greater understanding of God's plan for humanity.

Earlier I mentioned a sort of - beckoning. A pulling or drawing of our young people towards remembering Israel. I believe this is the work of the Holy Spirit which is working in our generation to make way for Yeshua's (Jesus') second coming.

Our praying for Israel is important because of its significance in biblical prophecy. According to God's word, the restoration of Israel is seen as a precursor to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, many Christians see praying for Israel as an essential part of their faith.


Bonus: A Meditation or Prayer Towards Israel:

Oh, Israel, the promised land of old,
A nation chosen, by God's own hold.
In prayer, we seek your peace and good,
As we journey through this earthly hood.

For in your salvation, we see God's plan,
A divine purpose for woman and man.
In Romans, Paul speaks of your destiny,
Of a future where all Israel is free.

Thus, we lift our hearts in prayer,
For your welfare and your care.
In solidarity, we stand with you,
A people loved, both old and new.

Oh, Israel, you hold a special place,
In the heart of God's embrace.
May our prayers be like sweet perfume,
Rising up to Heaven's great room.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Purim 2023: G-d's Faithfulness to His Chosen People

Replacement Theology: The "Jewish Problem" in Modern Christianity

Why Young Christians Should Pray for Israel