A Guide to Intercessory Prayer for the month of June 2019 ~ Jewish Year 5779

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`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 Man Just Like Us

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly …” (James 5:17)

In her devotional book ‘Streams in the Desert’ L. B. Cowman writes: Thank God Elijah was “just like us!”  He sat under a tree, complained to God, and expressed his unbelief – just as we have often done.  Yet this was not the case at all when he was truly in touch with God.  “Elijah was a man just like us,” yet “he prayed earnestly.”  The literal meaning of this in the Greek is magnificent: instead of saying “earnestly” it says “He prayed in prayer.”  In other words, “He kept on praying.”  The lesson here is that you must keep praying.

Climb to the top of Mount Carmel and see that great story of faith and sight.  After Elijah had called down fire from heaven to defeat the prophets of Baal, rain was needed for God’s prophecy to be fulfilled.  And the man who could command fire from heaven could bring rain using the same methods.  We are told, “Elijah … bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42) shutting out all sights and sounds.  He put himself in a position beneath his robe, to neither see nor hear what was happening.

Elijah prays for rainElijah prays for rain (photo: FreeBibleimages.org)

Elijah then said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea” (1 Kings 18:43).  Upon returning the servant replied “There is nothing there.”  How brief his response must have seemed! “Nothing?”  Can you imagine what we would have thought under the same circumstance?  We could say “Just as I expected” and then would stop praying.  But did Elijah give up?  No.  In fact, seven times he told his servant “Go back.”  Time after time the servant returned saying “Nothing!”  But, “the seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small a man’s hand is rising from the sea’
(1 Kings 18:44).

What a fitting description; for a man’s hand had been raised in prayer to God before the rains came.  And the rains came so fast and furiously that Elijah warned Ahab to “go down before the rain stops you.”  This is a story of faith and sight – faith cutting itself off from everything except God, with sight that looks and yet sees nothing.  Yes, in spite of utterly hopeless reports received from sight, this is a story of faith that continues “praying in prayer.”  Do you know how to pray in that way – how to prevail in prayer?  Let your sight bring you reports as discouraging as possible, but pay no attention to them.  Our heavenly Father lives, and even the delays in the answers to our prayers are part of his goodness (Arthur Tappan Pierson).

“Each of three young boys once gave a definition of faith that illustrates the important aspect of tenacity.  The first boy defined faith as “taking hold of Christ,” the second as “keeping our hold on him,” and the third as “not letting go of him.”

Because he was “like us,” we know it took faith to believe God, focusing on God and not the situation – believing God and his promises.  Let us do the same as we pray for Israel … all we need to do is “pray earnestly.”

Let us Watch and Pray Together

  • Thank God for his great love for Israel.  Pray as Moses did for Aaron (Deuteronomy 9:20); and remember what Jeremiah said: ‘The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness”’ (Jeremiah 31:3).
  • Thank God that he will fight for Israel not because of her righteousness but because of the wickedness of her enemies. “But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish – vanish like smoke” (Psalm 37:20).
  • Remain faithful and pray always, And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
  • Proclaim the infallible written word of God that Israel is special to the Lord’s heart and that they are still the chosen people.   “To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 10:14-15).
  • Praise the Lord that over 750,000 Jewish people came “up to Jerusalem” in 2019 during the Passover (Pessach) celebrations.  The Western Wall Plaza was continually filled with worshippers.  This means that the Feasts of the Lord are becoming more and more prominent among the population of Israel, for this we give the Lord God thanks.  “Give thanks to the LORD; for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
  • Lift up your hands for the young people in Tel Aviv (the capital of the gay pride world).  Many are beginning to celebrate the Lord’s Shabbat, fellowshipping together and learning more from God’s written word, which includes the Torah. “… when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing” (Deuteronomy 31:11).

Together, with the youth and the mature praying people in the nations, we can participate in the defeat of the powers of the principalities of the air at work in so many places today, influencing Israel to become ‘just like the nations’ in behaviour and conduct.  As Christians we pray that Messiah will return soon, to turn the hearts of everyone to him, so that he might be praised throughout the entire earth, beginning at Jerusalem.

May we learn from the days of Elijah and find God’s way for us in these days in which we are called to serve him faithfully in prayer and righteous living.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Sharon Sanders

Christian Friends of Israel – Jerusalem (UK edited version)

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CFI UK News and Prayer items

As this prayer letter arrives we expect to be midway through the CFI UK Israel Tour 28th May to 3rd June, followed by the CFI Jerusalem conference from 3rd to 7th June.  Pray that those who speak at the conference will be informative and practical, and encouraged by the response they receive.  Pray that we will be able to impart all we see and hear to others upon our return.  Pray especially for some CFI UK staff who will be visiting Israel for the first time.

Pray that the CFI Jerusalem AGM with international representatives, including Jacob Vince for the UK, will be informative and helpful in our working in parallel, addressing the needs both in Israel and in the nations, including the wider church in our own nation.

Thank the Lord for an excellent residential ‘Kesher’ course in Scotland and the ‘Why Israel?’ course ongoing in the North East.  Thank him too for Julia Soakell speaking at the Lydia National Conference.  Pray for the day-conference at Glyndley Manor on Wednesday 12th June, as Jacob Vince takes several sessions on ‘Israel and the Church in God’s bigger picture’ (just 3 days after returning from the Israel Tour).  Pray too for Jacob as he assists the Israel stand at the GMB Union Congress in Brighton on Monday 10th June, especially with the current challenge of antisemitism and prejudice against Israel amongst some union elements with influence in the Labour Party.

Thank our gracious God for the progress made so far in updating our office IT systems and the refresh of our publicity materials.  We hope to have trialled a new triple-banner at the Big Church Day Out weekend.  Pray for the ongoing revision of our display material and free literature, as well as the capacity to progress this comprehensively.

Pray as we seek to recruit an additional staff member for the role of Change Management Support, to help in our updating and refreshing, as well as at CFI resources stalls for the Christian festivals we attend and to provide additional staff cover.  Pray for a good selection of candidates applying and that the Lord will identify the right person for this role to those interviewing.  Thank the Lord for his ongoing financial provision to enable this addition.

The CFI UK Team