A Guide to Intercessory Prayer for the month of April 2024 ~ Jewish Year 5784

 `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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Doubting that Doesn`t Disqualify

‘The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them … Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”’ (John 20:25-29).

Doubting Thomas – how’s that for a name?  Even though one day you came to believe, it is forever known that you once doubted.  Yes, you needed convincing, but must everyone know the shame of your former lack of faith?  To be greeted, “Hey, it’s doubting Thomas!” is not exactly the welcome we want to have walking into a room.  Not much is said in the Bible about Thomas, one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus and an apostle.  But he got off to a bit of a rough start on his apostolic journey.

For three years, this disciple heard firsthand what thousands heard as Jesus preached about the kingdom of God and the need for repentance to enter into it.  What it must have been like to see many miracles, to see the dead raised, and have divine power flow through his own body as he cast out demons and healed the sick.  Like the other disciples, Thomas heard Jesus prophesy that he would suffer, die, and be raised on the third day.  Yet, having seen, heard, and walked with Jesus, some seed of doubt was deeply rooted in him and prevented him from believing wholeheartedly.

From the vantage point of being in Israel, at what seems like a global crossroads in history for the Jewish people worldwide, one can’t help but think about Thomas.  Jesus had already appeared to the others in this same room where they had shut themselves in for fear of persecution.  Amid the trembling in the hours after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus came greeting the disciples with peace.  He stretched out pierced hands to them and showed them his pierced side.  For a reason the Bible does not explain, Thomas was missing from this first meeting.  However, it seems clear that Thomas, full of doubt, was destined to be a part of the revelation.  So, when the disciples were back in that room, Jesus came again, and this time Thomas was there.

In meeting different people in Israel, from different backgrounds with varying degrees of faith, and hearing their thoughts concerning the current plight of Israel at war with Hamas, the global rise in anti-Semitism, and the threat of war on the northern border, a number have shared that all this turmoil must signal that the Messiah’s coming is near.  If you’ve ever experienced severe trials, you’ll agree that nothing brings the fragility of our human existence to the fore like sickness and danger.  Hard times can cause deep lingering theological questions to surface for most of us.

As we approach Purim and the Spring Feasts, and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, many people all over the world will look at the significant biblical narratives that shape their faith and identity.  After October 7th, my prayer is that these precious biblical accounts will have a fresh new meaning and bring a sense of urgency to share why we observe these days and feasts.  They are not just traditions, but appointed times that point to the end-time when all things will be restored (see Acts 3:21).

A new fallacy has arisen amongst Hamas supporters, claiming Jesus was a Palestinian.  This absurd claim has even reached the council chambers of the United Nations from Palestinian representatives.  A pleasant surprise, however, is that in refuting this claim, there are credible Israeli news outlets and sources that have publicly stated that, ‘Jesus was Jewish and born in Judea.’  For centuries, many Jews have refused to make any connection to Jesus’ Jewishness.  Though the enemy meant to sow doubt, this deception is forcing people to do the research and connect the dots of historical truth that is the bedrock for our Judeo-Christian faith.

Like Thomas who was out of the room when Jesus first showed up and invited those present to touch him, many people have been away from the place of encounter for 2,000 years.  But, not wanting any of his brothers to miss the opportunity to see the hope of resurrection, Jesus appeared one more time on the eighth day for an up-close encounter with “Doubting Thomas.”  Jesus – being gracious, patient, loving, and merciful – makes room even for the staunchest sceptics.  I see a parallel in Thomas as Israel finds itself ‘shut in’ after October 7th and sense that an unveiling is taking place through the current crisis.  May those who are privately examining their hearts and doubts be given the final proofs they need.

After his suffering, Jesus presented himself to them with many convincing proofs that he was alive.  He appeared to them over a span of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).  God is inviting a whole generation of his people and all the nations to a second chance (or third, or fourth) to draw near to him in these dark times.  Maybe it’s personal and you need to draw near again – cry out to God, he is gracious.

Christians often quote the scripture which says, “I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10).  I believe we’re living in the days meant to prepare Israel for that “look.”  Though we know God gives the gift of faith, he calls us to be salt and light in the world.  As we wait and pray for the return of over 100 hostages still captive in Gaza, success in the fight against Hamas, and pushing back darkness in the north, let us pray for a local and worldwide awakening to the truth about Jesus.

Let Us Pray:

  • Pray for many veils to be removed during the Spring Feasts, resurrection celebrations, and Ramadan.
    (Isaiah 9:2; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17)
  • Ask God to show you how you can be a part of spreading the Good News about the resurrection of Jesus.
    (Malachi 2:7; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • Intercede for Jews around the world to be comforted by God’s covenant, confident in his ability to keep his promises.
    (Psalm 119:11, 105)
  • Pray for the Prince of Peace to comfort the displaced and suffering people on both sides of the current conflict and ask for the safe return of the hostages. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  • Pray for peace and unity for Israel’s War Cabinet, Knesset, defence forces, and all sectors of the population.
    (Psalm 122:8; Psalm 133)
  • Pray for Benjamin Netanyahu to be resolute in leading Israel, steadfast in the counsel and will of God
    (2 Samuel 15:31; Isaiah 44:25).
  • Intercede for believers in Israel to share with ‘Doubting Thomases’ in hope of preparing the way for a ‘second look.’
    (Acts 17:2; Acts 17:17)

Maranatha!

Suzie Georges

Project Coordinator – Wall of Prayer
Christian Friends of Israel – Jerusalem (UK edited version)

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CFI UK News and Prayer items

Thank the Lord for our residential CFI UK Prayer Conference titled ‘Touching the Sceptre’, run from Tuesday 19th to Thursday 21st March 2024 at King’s Park Centre, Northampton.  More than seventy of us gathered to participate in prayer for Israel, return of hostages, the UK Church, nation, and our relationship with the Jewish community, plus the work of CFI Jerusalem, showing Christian friendship in meeting the immediate practical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of Israel’s citizens.

Pray for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit for all CFI UK team members attending our Resources Stall at the Spring Harvest gatherings April 1st to 5th in Skegness and April 8th to 12th in Minehead.  Ask the Lord to maintain our health but also to inspire us as we respond to brothers and sisters in Christ who are concerned about the suffering in the Gaza Strip, arising from Israel’s challenging struggle with Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Jacob Vince and David Soakell have several invitations to speak at churches and other groups this month.  Appeal to our Father in Heaven to guide the preparations for these so that they will be a blessing to all those who attend the meetings.  And ask him to protect the Jewish people in the UK, particularly during the Passover celebrations at the end of the month.

We are sending out an advocacy flyer with this prayer letter, as Israel and the Jewish people have a great need of advocates.  Many of their enemies are engaging in distortion of facts – and outright deceptions – making multiple false allegations against Israel and putting enormous pressure on Israelis to give up in the fight against Hamas.  Ask the Lord to motivate many more Christians in the UK to speak up for the truth about Israel’s efforts to defeat terrorists while minimising civilian casualties.

Appeal to God to protect staff members who deal with our social media channels.  As we have said before, we aim to counter disinformation about Israel and the Jewish people.  Sometimes our posts lead to hateful responses from Israel’s enemies, that can have a significant adverse impact upon us.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to apply divine healing balm.

The CFI UK Team