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Watchman's Prayer Letter
A Guide to Intercessory Prayer for the month of February 2016 ~ Jewish Year 5776
'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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Being the Light in the Darkness
In today's modern world there is much darkness ('araphel', in Hebrew). Actually there are two words in the Hebrew translated as darkness. The most common is the word 'choshekh'. However, 'araphel' means something more than just darkness. In Exodus 20:21 we read that Moses approached the 'araphel' where God was. This darkness is a different darkness, alluded to in Exodus 10:21, which was the plague of darkness ('choshekh') that could be felt. This darkness was more like a thick and palpable darkness without even a ray of light. It would make one feel the way forward and possibly grope in the darkness. We often associate darkness with evil and light with good, but interestingly most times God appears in the 'araphel' such as in Exodus 20:21 and also in 2 Samuel 22:10, 1 Kings 8:12, Psalm 97:2 and other places*). Moses was able to draw near to this darkness and eventually went into it because God was there and wanted to speak.
In today's darkness it is my opinion that what we so often see happening, through the wickedness and lawlessness that is prevalent everywhere, is the 'choshekh' of world sin and deterioration. It is a darkness which is more than just shadows or obscurity brought on by night-time. It seems to be a plague, a 'choshekh', of dark evil which lurks over many nations and displays itself in the form of madness, violence, hatred, murder, thirst for blood and love of death. This kind of darkness can only be defeated by the One who is the True Light: the GOD OF ISRAEL. As Christians, we know Him through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus (Yeshua). Only He can dispel this plague of darkness. He is our Rock, (our 'tsur', in Hebrew) which actually means more than a rock. It is a large rock outcropping that can be used as a defensive position, a stronghold or fortress against the extreme darkness across our planet. We can implore the God of Israel, that as we pray into the various needs for the nation of Israel, we know that He is the rock of our strength to be able to pray against this extreme darkness for victory in His Name. “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your heart before Him…” (Psalm 62:6-8).
Israel faces many dark forces around her. She is a tiny nation and on all four sides, from north, south, east and west, darkness is continually trying to infiltrate and break through her borders. However, we must not be guilty of looking at her small size and numbers compared to the Islamic nations surrounding her, less we be guilty of the same sin David committed when he numbered the people of Israel (2 Samuel 24:10). We must look at how big the God of Israel is, and how powerful and majestic He is, and that there is no god as great as he! Let us stand firmly on this rock ('tsur') and know that salvation for Israel, protection for her people and the assurance of her final redemption will come… yes, it will come through our intercessions and prayers penetrating today's 'choshekh' (plague of death and darkness). The Bible is packed with verses that let us know that God wants to help us when we pray. He will answer our fervent and unyielding prayers for Israel as we, the Watchmen, cover her in prayer as a shield around about her. God bless you as we work together, with Him, cooperate with Him in His plans and purposes for Israel, and accomplish much through prayer.
As We Go to God in Prayer
As we begin this New Year in the nations, it is a fitting time for an update. While Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party celebrates 51 years of murdering Jewish people, and vows to continue in this New Year, they state that they will redeem the homeland with blood and saturate its ground. The Israeli Defense Forces have warned that ISIS jihadists along its borders may attack in the not-so-distant future. It is known that ISIS possesses no small number of advanced weapons; therefore IDF forces remain on high alert. According to Israel Today, December 2015 issue, Orthodox Jewish websites have been discussing the coming of the Messiah, and foresee a terrible war. A senior Muslim Brotherhood official, and adviser to the Egyptian president, called on Jews who left Egypt to return as he says “Israel will be destroyed within a decade” (Israel Hayom, December 23, 2015). As Jerusalem becomes a “…cup of trembling…” (Zechariah 12:2, KJV) let us take these serious issues to solemn prayer at this momentous time in history.
- Seek the Lord that He will cause the fruitless and destructive words of Fatah to fall to the ground and not come to pass. Pray for the helpless and innocent victims – those who have been victims of evil dark deeds – to be able to see peace in their time. We pray for the Lord’s divine intervention and that help will be there in time of need. May the power of God be seen when the Arab nations take counsel against God’s Chosen People, that instead of Israel being cut off (Psalm 83:4), which are boastful words recently said by Fatah, that Fatah will be the ones that God cuts off and that their faces will be filled with shame (Psalm 83:16), and that they may seek the Name of the God of Israel for salvation. May the soldiers of Israel be true warriors for the God of Israel, men who can keep battle formation (1 Chronicles 12:36), keep rank (verse 38) and able to have good consultation together at all times (1 Chronicles 13:1).
- Urge the Lord to continue in His faithful promises to protect the “stronghold of Zion” (1 Chronicles 11:5), the City of David, for His Name’s Sake. “The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (Psalm 87:2). It is in this City and to this City He will come to allow His Name to be spread across the world as the greatest of all gods. We must realise that when “Allah Hu Akbar” is spoken, it is declaring that Allah is supreme or superior to the God of Israel… greater than all other gods. The one shouting is submissive to this false god. Rejecting the issue that we are created in the image of the One True God and that a person can be good… this imperialistic ideology will fail. We must proclaim the greatness of the One True God at all times. May those defending Zion be as the officers during Issachar’s time who knew what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32), and may the City of David not be allowed to be penetrated, but victory for the Lord come soon.
- Remember the Lord’s Promises, ISIS will not survive but will be defeated. Jesus told us “… for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Obviously, he was asking his disciples not to take up the sword, but the principle is that those who kill will eventually die. Let us pray for salvation to come to even the darkest of human beings caught in this web of evil and dark deception called ISIS. May Israel enquire of the Lord as to how to defeat them as David did with the Philistines, ‘Therefore David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” (1 Chronicles 14:14-15). Pray that all leaders and commanders of the Israeli armed forces will ask God for wisdom and hear from God so they will know how to proceed in every military operation.
- Ask in faith that the Home Front Command here in Israel will be able to deal with all emergencies they may be confronted with in the future. There needs to be Godly counsel amongst them to pray and ask God for help. Their readiness is imperative and the counsel to the people and public needs to be the right counsel at all times. “For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive: and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5).
- Pray fervently for the Lord’s words to come to pass and that the battle between light and darkness, even the very deep darkness, will be turned on its head and defeated by the hosts of heaven. Thank God that ISIS fears Israel, but may they come to know the power and strength of Israel’s God. May divine miracles happen so that everyone who is a part of this evil darkness be liberated and brought into the light of truth. “Restore us, O God of Hosts; cause Your face to shine: and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:7).
- Delight in the Lord that in the midst of all the darkness, and sometimes only ‘bad’ news, that the Lord God of Israel is working beautifully in this Land among this Chosen People.
- Thank God for Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who gave credit to God recently when a gas agreement was signed. He said to the public, “The gas was given to us as ‘a gift from God’, and it will make us an energy superpower.” Pray for our Prime Minister that he will continue to publically acknowledge God and the Bible, which he often quotes at public gatherings. “Righteousness exalts a nation…” (Proverbs 14:34). May Israel’s leader continue to exalt the Lord without shame!
- Exalt His Name that Jesus has made headlines in Israel. 95% of Israelis are on the Internet every day. “Walla!” - a mainstream Israeli media giant - produced at their own expense a series of 24 live interviews with messianic Jews about Jesus. Up until it was stopped by Ultra-Orthodox, the message got out to thousands and perhaps millions as they discussed many issues that are usually taboo in Israel. (Israel Today, December 2015, David Lazarus).
[*Hebrew references are from the Biblical Hebrew Picture Dictionary. All Scripture references are from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.]
May the Lord guide us all to pray more intensely during these days that are so dark in many places. In spite of the terror attacks and many insidious acts of evil perpetrated upon the Jewish people in Israel over the past months in a “knife intifada” the Jewish people do not give up. They keep calling upon the Lord and we must continue and not give up either – we are the nation’s Watchmen. God bless each of you wherever you are and whoever receives our prayer letters. Use them and forward them please so we can mobilise even more prayer in our sinful world.
Looking Up for Him,
Christian Friends of Israel – Jerusalem
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CFI-UK News and Prayer requests
Thank the Lord for his answered prayer for Jacob and Robin as they participated in a co-sponsored ministers’ study tour of Israel in January. Pray for the ministers and Christian charity workers who came – that the Lord will speak afresh to them from the Bible as they reflect on all they have seen and heard. Pray for our Trustees, Jacob and senior staff as they meet for their ‘Way Ahead’ residential board meeting early this month and it’s outworking. May the Lord refresh His vision for CFI UK and guide the activities and resources to where he would have us serve.
Please pray for the final preparations of the UK Parliamentary Lobby day on 24th February 2016, and the event itself. May it be a powerful expression of friendship and support for Israel and the UK Jewish community among representatives of the UK government as we tackle the issue of incitement. Thank the Lord for the many activities that Area Reps and staff have been involved in around Holocaust Memorial day. Pray for, and consider joining us at, CFI UK’s Strategic Prayer Conference to be held on 17th – 19th March 2016.
Together in His service,
The CFI-UK Team
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This is a great help to consistent and effective prayer.
Guidelines for Corporate Prayer
(Adapted from teaching given by Lance Lambert and Art Carlson)
- Be brief. In Matthew 6:7 Jesus says that the Gentiles suppose they will be heard for their many words. We haven't changed much!
- Speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard. As Paul said in another context, how can we say "Amen" if we don't know what is said.
- Pray from the heart, don't preach. Avoid sentimentality and unnatural speech. Sometimes you can tell what group people come from by listening to them pray, because they adopt a particular style. Be honest; talk to God the way you talk to your best friend.
- Keep on the theme. Pray through one subject before introducing another. Obviously, that doesn't mean we have to see the mountain moved into the sea before proceeding to the next subject, but we do need to give God time to speak concerning the subject in hand before moving on. When not praying aloud, quietly support the one who is. Don't let your mind wander.
- Don't take "pot-shots" at the devil. Jude verse 9 tells us that even the archangel Michael did not dare to condemn the devil for slander, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." Rather we are told to 'resist the devil' (James 4:7) and to: 'put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes' (Ephesians 6:11).
- Avoid personal pronouns. When speaking for the group say "We" rather than "I". Of course, if there is doubt about agreement on an issue, that should be settled before praying on behalf of all.
- Good repetition builds the case. Some teaching would indicate that once a thing is prayed for, it is unbelief to mention it again. There is need for balance in this. To keep pleading for something which God has made clear He wants to give us can be unbelief. On the other hand, true intercession is speaking into reality that which is as yet unseen. That usually takes time and repetition. We should not assume that what "worked" on the last prayer project will work on the next. There was a different strategy for different cities as Israel took the land.
- Lay aside preconceived ideas. Die to your own imagination. Ask for fresh guidance from the Holy Spirit for this prayer time. We need to cultivate absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit.
- Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). Let the high praises of God be in our mouths and a two-edged sword in our hands (Psalm 149:6)
Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem
The writer draws on her experience of writing prayer materials in Jerusalem to provide a unique aid to prayer for Israel and the Middle East. Each of these 40 short devotional studies helps us to understand God's heart for Israel and then pray biblically and intelligently into the current situation.
£4.00 (plus postage and packing)
To purchase this book, please click here.
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