13 October 2012

"I looked for a man..."

We were chatting with an Israeli pastor in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago,  and mentioned the news snippets we’d heard about the possibility of a war between Iran and Israel.  We had seen a scam email do the rounds on Facebook and had heard talk of pre-emptive strikes.  We had also heard repeated the now familiar rhetoric from Iran about ‘wiping out the Zionist entity’ and ‘removing Israel from the global map’.  It’s not always easy to sift out the rumour from the reality.  How can we know what’s really going on?    We know the scriptures talk of wars yet to come, and also instruct us to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’.  How can we pray effectively when it’s not always clear to us what God’s agenda might be in such a situation?

One thing we can know for sure is that Israel is, and has been for some time, preparing for the possibility of a conflict with her neighbours.  Gas masks have been issued to the population, emergency situation drills have been conducted, a dedicated radio station for alerts is in place and an early warning system using personal mobile phones has been set up.  Local pastors have been preparing their congregations for the possibility of a war, encouraging them to have emergency supplies at home and to know the location of their nearest bomb shelter, if they don’t have one already built into their apartments and homes.
These procedures and preparations are not new for Israelis, but they are serious.  As I continued talking to the pastor in Tel Aviv, he encouraged us to pray for the believers.  Ever the evangelist, his expectation is for a harvest of people, that the potential coming conflict may be serious, but that it is also an opportunity for God to bring many into the Kingdom.  “The harvest is ready,” he said. “Pray for the believers here – we need the Lord of the Harvest to send as many labourers into the field as possible at this time.”

Another leader in Israel, running a house of prayer in Jerusalem, was sharing at a local conference about the looming conflict and how God had been prophetically warning the intercessors and showing them how to pray.  He also reported from a local gathering of Israeli Pastors, Jewish and Arab, that they all felt another war was coming.  God had told them, “Don’t be afraid.  Just be prepared to bring in the harvest when it happens.”

Will there be a war soon?  Only time will tell for sure.  But in the meantime, we want to share some of the prayer points given to us by the leaders in Israel:

  1. To strengthen the borders of Israel.
    Several pictures and dreams were given to the Body in Israel concerning the borders of their country, confirmed in the days following by newspaper reports of unusual phenomena particularly on the Mediterranean coastline.  Psalm 29 speaks of God’s sovereignty over the waters.  We are not interested in political boundaries, but to align with God’s process of using coming events to position nations and people groups.  We have an enemy that seeks to kill, steal and destroy.  God’s purpose is to win the hearts of the nations.  Also pray for the protection around the borders of your own families, homes, ministries and church.
  2. To build up the gaps in the wall.
    Ezekiel 22:30 is a picture of this.  The believers in Israel are rising up into these positions – pray that they will be strengthened to become the wall and fill the gaps.
  3. That the whole Body of believers in Israel will be ready for the harvest.
    Matthew 9:36-38  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
  4. Pray and declare Psalm 118.