Bible Society of South Africa

Pray for peace - 1 March 2024

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“May those who love you prosper.

Psalms 122:6GNBOpen in Bible reader

יִשְׂרָאֵל : “You pronounce it Iss-rah-el”, the pastor said, in sharp contrast to the way I had always pronounced it: iz·ray·uhl.

I was attending a church conference hosted in the direct aftermath of the events that transpired on 7 October 2023 when the most Jews were killed on a single day since the Holocaust. The attack, nearly 50 years to the day of the Yom Kippur War of 1973, caught Israel off guard, seemingly, adding insult to injury.

The mood at the conference was sombre and expectant as everyone was keen to put recent events into spiritual perspective. We sang and prayed for Jerusalem, and fittingly read Psalm 122:6-9: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.

While Israel’s response to the attack continues to dominate the news, I believe it is critical that we keep praying for God’s will in the Middle East. War is horrific; there is much suffering and our hearts are broken. In prayer, we can seek out the Lord’s counsel on our knees. He is in control and able to effect change.

This month, we are going to spend time contemplating the life of the man eventually called Israel and his clan. Perhaps, the rather imperfect people God chose to take his message to the world will help us to get to know the God of Israel better as well, especially with Easter coming up.

Then our focus turns to Jesus, the most celebrated of Jewish men and the greatest man ever to set foot on this planet; I believe it is prudent to consider his lineage and the land the God-man chose to call his earthly home.

Therefore, may I implore each of us, and fellow believers around us, to keep the situation in Israel, Gaza and the whole region in prayer. Let us pray for God’s intervention and peace in that majestic, if disputed, part of the world, and may his name be glorified. After all, the Bible exhorts us to pray, and Jesus asserts that when two or more gather in his name, he is there also, according to Matthew 18:20.

Prayer: Lord God, it is a privilege to have a relationship with you. Help us to trust that you are fully in control even if we do not understand how things are panning out in the Middle East. Amen

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