October 9, 2023 – Bobby Harrington, co-founder RENEW.org Network
Israel experienced vicious attacks this past week that will likely result in around 1,000 slaughtered, thousands wounded (many seriously) and up to 200 taken as captives into the Gaza strip (likely to be made into human shields to thwart Israel’s counterattack).
Sadly, it seems that many thousands are about to die in the upcoming war Israel will, of necessity, lead in order to respond to the atrocities committed by Hamas in Gaza.
Satan has been fueling hatred in Gaza (and the West Bank) for many, many years. And the Jews, with the Holocaust always in their memory, will have a powerful response to maintain their posture of deterring further aggression.
I have been to Israel 12 times. There are very few evangelical Christians in the land (about 20,000 Jewish evangelicals and 7,000 Arabic evangelicals) of a combined population of about 14 million, including Israel and Gaza/West Bank. I have made friends and gathered in Christian assemblies with Jewish and Arabic Christians (separately). In my experience, they love Jesus and each other, but even these Christians disagree with each other politically, historically, and militarily. Their church leaders periodically meet to pray for and with each other, but tensions remain.
7 Concerns to Pray About
Here is how I am praying in light of how complex, tragic, and fragile the political and military situation in Israel is. I invite you to join me in bringing the following concerns before God:
- Our prayer is for peace, knowing that political leaders have ingrained beliefs and ideas about each other—as Arabs and Jews—that will make a sustained peace very, very difficult.
- Iran is lurking in the background, as they likely helped in the Gaza attack. Pray that their influence is minimized.
- Pray for those who have lost loved ones and who continue to be terrorized.
- Please pray for the innocent bystanders in Gaza, whose lives will be affected by the Israeli response to the horrific attack this past weekend.
- Pray that things do not get worse, that it does not lead to a wider, major war between Israel and Iran.
- Pray for both Jews and Arabs not to believe lies about each other and not to hate each other even more because of this conflict.
- Pray for a spirit of forgiveness to descend on the land—especially that the small number of Christians in the land, both Jewish and Arab, would lead in patience and forgiveness.
Personally, it is hard for me to conceive why Israel had no ready forces positioned in the South or the North to deal with potential violence, as this was the anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War (also called Yom-Kippur War). At the same time, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Muslim Arabs did something surprising, as they coordinated a master-mind attack with Iran.
“Pray for both Jews and Arabs not to believe lies about each other and not to hate each other even more because of this conflict.”
For Israel, this situation is deadly serious. If Hezbollah (in Lebanon) sits this out, it is likely that the Israeli Defense Forces will systematically crush Gaza. However, serious attacks from Southern Lebanon will stretch the IDF ground force to the limit. The danger is that anger and disgust across the Muslim world with the destruction of Gaza and its people could eventually provoke a larger war that could involve Iran and even Turkey. Egypt may be unable to sit it out. Jordan may fall apart under the pressure of internal unrest.
In short, the world could change dramatically.
Pray that it does not get worse.