Praying for Israel
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.”
– Psalm 122:6
By Mark Robinson
The words pray, prayed, prayer, prayers, prayest, prayeth, and praying appear 540 times in the Bible. Although used in different settings and contexts, it is clear the child of God is called upon to “pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
We are to pray about everything. Family, health, job, church, government, friends, unsaved, etc. are some of the items believers regularly pray about. Oftentimes, though, there is something that is overlooked in our prayer life. There is a command of God, not a request, to pray for Jerusalem.
Praying for Jerusalem, Israel should be an indispensable part of the life of every believer. In fact, the only city specifically mentioned in the word of God that we are told to pray for is Jerusalem.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6
We are also told that we are to never stop praying for Jerusalem until this city is made a praise in the earth by God.
“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7
Let’s examine these verses so we can understand not only why Praying for Israel is one of the ministry purpose statements of Jewish Awareness Ministries, but why it should be an integral part of your life and your churches life as well.
The focus of this passage is believers. Notice the passage says, “ye that make mention of the Lord.” If you claim Messiah Jesus as your Savior and Lord, if you are a child of God, this verse is directed at you.
Who are the “watchmen” God has set upon the walls of Jerusalem? I believe there are two possibilities. The first possibility is those specially called into Jewish missions. For example, Peter was the apostle to the circumcision, Jewish people, and Paul was the apostle to the un-circumcision, Gentile people, Galatians 2:7-8. Just as God called these two men into different areas of service, so God also calls individuals into Jewish missions today. The “watchmen” could be all individuals who God has called into Jewish missions as a career. This understanding certainly fits the criteria of this passage as not all people were used as watchmen in biblical times, and not all believers are called into a career ministry to Jewish people today.
The second possibility is all believers – those who “make mention of the Lord.” It is clear that God has commanded Bible believing Christians to go into all the world and preach the gospel, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8. And the priority in evangelism is to the Jew first, and also to the Gentiles, Romans 1:16. So at least by application, this verse applies to all believers.
Watchmen were often soldiers, required to report what they see and hear – warn about the coming enemy, and were absolved from any responsibility when they fulfilled their duties – warned the people – regardless of whether or not the people heeded their warning. Believers are soldiers in a spiritual battle. That is why we are told to put on the entire armor of God in Ephesians 6.
God has set believers, you and me, as watchmen, some through full time ministry to Jewish people and some because of their responsibility in carrying out the great commission in sharing the gospel with Jew and Gentile, Romans 1:16, upon the walls of Jerusalem. Our duty is to warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem about the impending judgment. The context of Isaiah 62 is the coming of righteous Messiah, bringing salvation spiritually and physically to Israel. God has called us to tell Jewish people about the salvation found in Jesus, their Messiah, so they can be spared the judgment of a righteous, holy God. Ezekiel 33:1-11 gives an extended treatment of a watchman and his duties in a spiritual or salvation context. I suggest this passage be read for further clarification on responsibilities as “spiritual watchman.”
“Those who make mention of the Lord,” clearly all believers, are commanded to pray continually for the people of Israel. We are told to, “never hold [our] peace day nor night,” and “keep not silence, and give him [God] no rest.” We are to bombard the portals of heaven with our prayers for the salvation of Jewish people – regularly, daily, consistently!
How long are we to pray for the salvation of Jewish people? The answer is unequivocal and clear. “Till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” Our entire lives! Jerusalem won’t be made a praise in the earth until the Lord returns at the end of the Tribulation period. Since the entire church will be removed from the earth in the rapture before the Tribulation begins, this command envelopes our entire life.
Psalm 122:6 parallels, as we shall see, in many ways what we have learned in the Isaiah passage. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” is, like Isaiah 62:6-7, a command to be obeyed, and not an option to be considered.
Two seemingly unrelated, but, in actuality, interrelated statements are the focus of this verse. The first statement is to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” The second statement is “they shall prosper that love thee.”
Why the connection “they shall prosper that love thee” with the command “pray for the peace of Jerusalem?”
The ongoing hatred of the Jewish people has been documented in tens of thousands of pages throughout the centuries. We see it today in the anti-Semitic statements and acts of the Muslim world against the Jewish people, the boycott, divest, and sanction movement (BDS) promoted by the West in her colleges and religious institutions, and the anti-Semitism (disguised as anti-Israel) in the halls and chambers of the United Nations. The ongoing anti-Semitism is an enigma to many. As past articles of Israel’s Messenger have explained, anti-Semitism is only properly understood against the backdrop of Satan’s unrelenting attempt to destroy the promises of God to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel by destroying them. If he succeeds, God is a liar and Satan has won his battle with God.
Anti-Semites do not have and will never have peace! There will always be agitation in their soul and being until they get rid of Israel and the Jewish people, at least in their thinking. The Bible has a completely opposite teaching on the lack of peace in the lives of anti-Semites. It is not the presence of Jewish people and/or Israel, but their hatred that causes them unrest.
Shalom (peace) and shalah (prosper) come from the same root and mean peace, serenity, tranquil, prosper. The “peace” of Jerusalem speaks of a time when Jerusalem will be a place of serenity and tranquility. Those who love Jerusalem “prospering” speak of a serenity and tranquility in their soul and being.
When one regularly prays for something in a positive manner this produces a change in the praying persons feelings and thoughts toward the object of prayer. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem will produce a love for that city where God has said His name will be placed forever, 1 Kings 11:36. It will also produce a serenity and tranquility in your heart as you come to realize God is in control.
When God commands us to pray for something, it is reasonable to presume that the prayer will one day be answered. This is certainly the case for the prayer of Psalm 122:6 – “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Zechariah 12 is a chapter that speaks of all the nations of the world coming against Israel (Judah and Jerusalem) to destroy her, verses 1-3, in the future seven year Tribulation period. In verses 8-9 we are told that the LORD, Jehovah, will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem from all the armies of the nations of the world. The next verse tells us that the LORD is “pouring out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications.” “Supplications” is the Hebrew word Nwnxt, (takh-an-oo-naw’) and means “earnest prayer.” What is the “earnest prayer”? It is the multiplied millions of prayers for “the peace of Jerusalem” commanded in Psalm 122:6.
God answers this prayer when Messiah comes and delivers Israel from her enemies. As the rest of Zechariah 12:10 says, “and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” bold added. This takes place at the end of the Tribulation period when Israel accepts Jesus as her Messiah, King, and Savior. Peace comes to Jerusalem and Jerusalem is made a praise in the earth as Isaiah 62:6-7 promised.
Let Us Pray
When we obey God and pray for the peace of Jerusalem we know this prayer will be answered. God answers this prayer with the Jewish people living at the end of the Tribulation accepting Jesus as Messiah, the return of Jesus for His millennial kingdom reign, and Jerusalem being made a praise in the earth.
So what are we actually praying for when we follow the command of Psalm 122:6. We are praying that Jewish people come to the Lord and that Jesus returns to set up His kingdom on earth ruling from Jerusalem. We are to pray for Israel and the Jewish people until the Lord returns and Jerusalem is made a praise in the earth.
So, let us pray!
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Romans 10:1
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20