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Watchman’s Prayer Letter

Watchman’s Prayer Letter

A Guide to Intercessory Prayer for the month of September 2017 ~ Jewish Year 5777/5778
Click here for PDF copy

`I will stand upon my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what he will say to me,
and what I will answer.` (Habakkuk 2:1)

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A Place of Prayer

“... these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”
(Isaiah 56:7).

Ownership of the most coveted piece of real estate on the earth is being contested.  It is the place to which Jewish people turn in prayer from wherever they are on earth.  Muslims believe it is their holy site alone and that the Jewish people have no right to worship there.  The historical facts tell us that this is the site of the Jewish temple.  It is fraught with tension at the moment in a type of dichotomy, because the Temple Mount is built on solid rock, and yet the site trembles.  The Temple Mount represents the promises made to the Jewish people about God’s holy hill.  ‘Some of God’s promises have to be fought for.  The Jebusites who controlled Jerusalem told David, “You will not get in here!” (2 Samuel 5:6).  To make matters worse, Jerusalem was hundreds of feet above David’s army and the only way up was through a water cistern, which meant wading through muck.  “Nevertheless David captured the fortress of Zion” (2 Samuel 5:6-7)’ (Word for Today).

According to the Book of Samuel, the “fortress of Zion” was conquered by King David, renamed, and partially rebuilt as the “City of David.”  As we learn from Israel’s king, we notice the word ‘nevertheless’.  Even though a pagan group inhabited the sacred site, David took it.  He stood on the promises of the Torah, which told him that God wanted him to affirm Jerusalem.  David could see in his heart, even though the promises seemed far away at the time, that one day Messiah would come, and rule the nations from this holy mountain.  Jerusalem truly is the “fortress of Zion”, the navel of the earth, and a strong fortified mountain.  It is the place God chose for his Name to dwell, as a result of which it has earned the title ‘the holiest place in the whole world.’  A place where only God Almighty, the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ will be worshipped.  There will be no bowing down to Allah when Christ returns.  Every knee will bow to Jesus Christ.  One day this place of prayer will no longer be filled with a mixture of religions, but one people from Israel and the nations, all worshipping the one true God, the LORD.

This makes all other ‘gods’ angry, and anger is the driving force behind today’s Islamic violence.  The world tries to worship many ‘gods’ – but there is only one God.  The Temple Mount is his holy ground designated for his throne alone.

Tisha B’Av is a day rarely spoken about among Gentiles.  Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer explains that it is a day to mourn the loss of the temple in Jerusalem, but also to rejoice in the belief that it will be rebuilt in the future.  For the Jewish people, it was the loss of feeling God’s presence that was so painful, as it was a place of prayer, spirituality, holiness and miracles.  Three times a year, Jews were required to ascend to the temple to participate in the appointed feasts.  Here in Jerusalem, some Jewish people are talking about rebuilding the temple, and wanting it built speedily.  If I were living outside the borders of Israel, I would watch very closely what is happening on the Temple Mount.

Let Us Pray

The book of Nehemiah can help us, as Christians, learn how to seek the welfare of Jerusalem.  When Nehemiah challenged his countrymen to arise and rebuild, it took much leadership as he taught them to fear the LORD their God.  The command to restore then, is the same as now, only this time there is a deep meaning behind the Temple Mount and the Jewish people being restored to what is rightfully theirs.  Things have not changed because “Wherever you turn, they will attack us” (Nehemiah 4:12).  Today, everywhere you turn extremists in Islam are turning on the Jewish people.  This is not prejudice against a people.  I love the Arab people and have a number of good friends among them.  But those who are extremists and militant about their ideology fall into the same category as those Nehemiah faced when he returned from Babylonian exile to lead the people back to their spiritual home: Jerusalem.  He faced spiritual opposition.

  • Pray fervently that the Temple Mount tensions will subside and that the prophesied ‘holy war’ will collapse.  “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant” (2 Kings 19:34).
  • Praise the Lord that he can peel back the layers of the present situation, help us see how he is at work in that situation, and that blessings lie ahead.  As Muslims intensify their struggle for control of Jerusalem and fan the flames of hatred, declare the promises of God.  “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever” (Psalm 125:1).
  • Ask our gracious Lord to link redemption and challenges. With every challenge the Israelis face they seem to grow in strength as they rise to meet it.  An unprecedented number of Jewish people ascended the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av 2017 (31st July-1st August).  This alone tells us that times are changing.  Jewish people are hungry spiritually, and God will be the one who will bring it about.  “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27).
  • Thank the Lord that the Knesset recently approved a bill to ensure that Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of the Jewish state.  This makes the partitioning of Jerusalem almost impossible, avoiding much harm to the nation’s capital.  “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good …” (Psalm 118:1). 
  • Pray for the day when there will be no screams of “Allahu Akbar,” but instead “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai” (blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD).  Fatah, a terrorist organisation, has declared a campaign to take control of the Temple Mount.  “… this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession ...’” (Ezekiel 36:5).
  • Lift up your voice as we pray for all Christians to know the truth and to have the opportunity to see first-hand some of the issues Israel faces today.  Visiting Israel is one way to see for oneself what biased media often distorts.  Spokespeople and security personnel in Israel welcome the opportunity to help visitors see how they protect those who wish to pray, and how they are trying to prevent any more bloodshed from attackers who enter the compound chanting anti-Semitic calls for assaults on those they perceive to be enemies.  Continue to watch over the road to Zion, and strengthen your ranks of prayer partners so as to continue to ‘watch over Jerusalem.’  “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure’” (Psalm 122:6).

Lastly, Rick Ridings, a Jerusalem pastor, has posted further prayer points amid the tensions over the Temple Mount.  You can read them at www.succathallel.com.

Many are feeling uncertain as the Temple Mount trembles.  I like the way some godly Jewish scholars and rabbis think.  They know pain will come but they push through the pain in their spirits (similar to the process of childbirth) and see that in the end, God will be glorified in Israel and in the whole world.  They long, as do we, for the day when “... the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).  Just as water hides the sea beds, so the final comprehension of who the God of Israel is, that he is alive and that he is in control, will be abundantly available for every person on earth!  And so let us look past the coming trials and see the end result: the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to a physical city on earth: Jerusalem!

Until He Comes,
Sharon Sanders

Christian Friends of Israel – Jerusalem (UK edited version)

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CFI-UK News and Prayer requests

Praise the Lord for enabling us to face another setback on staffing with a measure of his grace, and with confidence that he will provide what we need.  Thank him too that our Christian accountants have provided part-time assistance with our bookkeeping, which we hope will become more extensive assistance in the future.

Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us so that we will know the Lord’s plans for this work.  It looks as if it will be some time before we can achieve a position of having a full-strength team at CFI-UK again.  In the meantime we will need to choose carefully where to focus our time and energy.

As usual we ask that you continue to pray for good health for all staff, volunteers and their families.  The spiritual battle around us is hard-fought and our health repeatedly comes under attack.  But we serve and worship the God who heals.

Thank the Lord for good responses to the CFI resources stall at the New Wine Christian festival at the Bath & West showground. An encouraging number of people visited the stall and there seemed to be a much greater emphasis on open-minded enquiries as to why we want to be Christian friends of Israel. This gave many opportunities for careful explanation of the reasons for this ministry.

Bless the Lord for providing substantial support through our trustees, who met again early in August to discuss the present situation and future direction. Bless him too for the great encouragement of being able to send significant donations to a variety of different ministries and projects in Israel, where there is much good work going on that does not make the news headlines (or even the ‘back pages’).

Please continue to pray for our delegation speaking tour with Stacey and Kevin Howard from CFI Jerusalem 15th–27th September.  Ask the Lord to provide all the energy and stamina Stacey and Kevin need.  Pray too for all the travelling and the hospitality arrangements, which are being coordinated by David and Julia Soakell.

Ask the Lord to bless the CFI National Conference to be held in Eastbourne on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September.  Please pray for good attendance, clear teaching, encouraging fellowship, helpful resourcing, and much glory for the Lord.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth ...” (Isaiah 42:10).

The CFI-UK Team