A Guide to Intercessory Prayer for the month of July 2021 ~ Jewish Year 5781

 `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 Word to the Watchmen

“This is what the LORD says to me: ‘Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees ... let him be alert, fully alert!’ And the lookout shouted, ‘Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post’” (Isaiah 21:6-8).

Ancient Israelite cities often posted watchmen on high walls or in watchtowers.  They were responsible for guarding towns and military encampments from unexpected enemy attacks, predators and other possible threats.  Their job was to watch and warn residents of impending danger.  Watchmen also protected crops and vineyards during the harvest season, using towers erected in the
fields.  Isaiah speaks of how watchmen also acted as sentinels who announced the start of a new day, “‘… Watchman, what is left of the night?’ The watchman replies, ‘Morning is coming, but also the night ...’” (Isaiah 21:11–12) [from www.gotquestions.org/watchmen-in-the-Bible].

In biblical times, God designated spiritual watchmen among his people, such as Ezekiel.  The LORD spoke to him saying, “‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word that I speak and give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 33:7).  Today God has called us as intercessors to serve as spiritual watchmen responsible for communicating with him through prayer and warning others of what we observe and hear from him.  The LORD spoke through Isaiah, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth’” (Isaiah 62:6-7).  God is telling us to continually remind him of his promises regarding the restoration of Israel!  As watchmen around the world in different time zones call out to God on behalf of Israel, prayers will ascend to his throne day and night.

The effective watchman is alert and attentive to what is happening around him both in the physical and spiritual realms.  His spiritual eyesight is keen, and he possesses the ability to hear the voice of the Lord clearly.  From his elevated position in the watchtower, even the slightest movement or change on the horizon attracts his attention.

Before his arrest, Yeshua (Jesus) asked his disciples to watch with him as he agonised in prayer, but they were too tired to comply.  He said to them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41).  He further warned them, “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:46).  When life becomes difficult, we may be tempted to crawl into bed to avoid dealing with the situations we face, but that is not what God is calling us to do.  He is asking us to stay alert and pray because there may be things he wants to show or tell us that we would not otherwise know.  Have you, as a watchman, made yourself available to the Lord on his timetable?

Watchmen, we must beware of distractions that can lure our attention away from what God has called us to do.  Being distracted and inattentive to God will allow the enemy an opportunity to blindside us.  At the time of writing, we are thankful that Israel has rescinded the requirement to wear face masks indoors because COVID cases have declined, and we are currently not subject to a barrage of rocket attacks.  However, we must not become complacent and leave our posts at the watchtower.  We must not sit down, lean back and cross our legs as though we are at ease. The apostle Peter warns us, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Let’s go to our posts and pray for Israel!

  • Praise God because he enjoys communing with us in prayer, and he wants us to stay in his presence. What a privilege!  Yeshua taught about continual prayer.  “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up ... And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:1,7).
  • Intercede for the new Israeli government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which is a mixture of parties from the left and the right who struggle to walk in unity.  Regardless of the composition of the Knesset, ask the Lord to have mercy on his chosen people.  “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Judgement will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (Psalm 94:14-15).
  • Beseech God on behalf of the Ultra-Orthodox, the Haredi, who no longer have influence in the new government.  May this jolt them into seeking the LORD.  “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).
  • Remind the Lord that he has promised to bring the Jewish people who are dispersed throughout the world back to Israel, their homeland.  Pray that God will use any method he chooses to open Israel’s doors to all his people – no matter where they are scattered.  “… but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters; and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks” (Jeremiah 16:15-16).

Thank you again for your commitment to praying for Israel; the Lord will certainly reward you.  “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).  It has been such a pleasure to meet some of you, my co-workers, through online prayer meetings, emails, letters and face-to-face.  May we meet around the throne of God in the days to come.

In God’s love,

Linda McMurray

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

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CFI UK News and Prayer items

We were pleased to hold our CFI UK National Prayer Conference online last month, hosted by David and Julia Soakell, assisted by Philip Aitchison, with just under 200 registering.  We are thankful that the technical difficulties were overcome, and we were able to offer up prayers focused on ‘Israel and the Nations’, ‘Israel and the Church’ and ‘Aid Projects in Israel’ largely co-ordinated by CFI Jerusalem.  It was great to have Linda McMurray, Wall of Prayer supervisor, join us on one day and Olga Kopilova from Forsake Them Not on another.

This month we have several talks coming up, some to church gatherings with little understanding of Israel in the Bible.  Pray that we will be able to communicate clearly and so encourage understanding more fully of God’s heart for Israel and their ongoing involvement in his outworking purposes.

There remains much to do to provide accurate reporting of the situation in Israel.  We should pray for organisations such as NGO Monitor, UK Lawyers for Israel and the Hague Initiative for International Co-operation (thinc.), amongst others, which are seeking to challenge prejudice against Israel that is disguised as human rights activism but leads to anti-Semitism.

Pray for the building and security works being undertaken this month at our Eastbourne premises – that the works are scheduled well (so that staff are not unduly interrupted), done to a good standard, and that staff and contractors will be kept safe and well.

Thank the Lord for answered prayer in arrangements for the CFI Annual Conference Friday 3rd – Saturday 4th September 2021.  Pray that all the technical and logistical aspects will be covered well, and for the speakers, that they will bring what is on the Lord’s heart for his Church concerning Israel at this time, consistent with his predetermined plan as recorded throughout the Bible.

Thank you for your prayers for God’s Holy Spirit guidance in all we do.

The CFI UK Team