(The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of my book Praying for Israel’s Destiny. The book is solid and relevant for these days. Having been an Israel Intercessor for many years, these truths roll out of my heart with ease. May you be enlightened and encouraged to take a stand in these perilous times.)
1. Israel is Still the Apple of God’s Eye, and His Inheritance.
Pray and take a stand for Israel because Israel is still very close to God’s heart. I have already shared Zechariah 2:8, which says, “He who touches you [Israel], touches the apple of His eye.” Centuries before Zechariah prophesied these words, Moses wrote a song containing a very similar picture:
For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob [Israel] is the allotment of His inheritance. . . . He encircled him, He cared for him and He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. . . . He spread His wings and caught them. He carried them on His pinions.
Psalm 148:14 declares, “And He has lifted up a horn for His people, praise for all His godly ones; even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.” Did you hear that? “A people near to Him.” I love that!
The first reason I pray for Israel is not profound. I pray for Israel because I want to be close to God’s heart and I want to be in alignment with God’s sight. If God says that Israel is the apple or pupil of His eye, then I want to pray with insight–with His sight. Do you want to be close to the heart of God? Then be close to the things, people and purposes that are close to His heart. Fulfill your appointment. Take a stand and be a watchman for Israel!
2. God Desires His Servants to Be Filled with Compassion.
Pray for Israel because God desires us to be filled with compassion for Israel’s condition. Psalm 102:13–14 says:
“Thou wilt arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. Surely Thy servants find pleasure in her stones, and feel pity for her dust. The time has come!”
When I recorded the vocal prayer tracks for Prayers for Israel, I was in a small, out-of-the-way studio in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. It was, frankly, chilly in that little building! But while I was praying through Psalm 102 for the cut “It’s Time to Have Compassion,” the Holy Spirit came upon me and my heart burned with the fire of God. I started to weep. Perhaps, I was releasing a measure of God’s heart at that moment. You see God wants us to pray, not with a clenched fist of self-righteous anger, but with a compassionate heart. I have cried out to the Lord to tenderize my heart. You, too, can ask the Holy Spirit to give you His heart of compassion for Israel.
God wants to give His heart to us so that we can pray over Israel with compassion. The time has come for us to receive His heart so that our prayers will go far beyond merely saying correct words and on into the prayer of the heart–even to the prayer of tears. It is time to have compassion on Zion. That is why I pray and take a stand for Israel. Want to join me?
3. God Commands Us to Give Him, and Ourselves, No Rest.
Pray and take a stand for Israel because God wants to establish Jerusalem and make her a praise in the earth. The prophet Isaiah declared: On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Isaiah 62:6–7
Give Him no rest until what is established? Jerusalem! He did not say Washington D.C., Paris or London. He did not say Constantinople, Athens, Damascus, Moscow or Cairo. He said until Jerusalem is made a praise. A what? A praise! Many news reports will tell you that Jerusalem is far from being a praise in the earth. Many people curse Jerusalem and call the Jewish people names I will not even dare repeat. So we must lift our voices in prayer until she becomes a praise–a glorious praise–in all the earth.
Now, we must understand something very clearly: This is not for our sake! It is for Zion’s sake! It is not about what is convenient. It is a priority! Reasons not to pray will appear; reasons to take your ease–distractions–interruptions in your schedule. Just set your heart to be resolute. Pray until!
4. God Desires to Work Through Us for Israel’s Salvation.
Pray for Israel so that Israel will be saved. I have shared that God wants to give us His heart of compassion–His tears–for Israel. But tears and compassion are not God’s end objective. God wants us to receive His heart so that we can pray with accuracy and discernment for the salvation of Israel. The Apostle Paul said, “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. . . . My heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation (Romans 9:2; 10:1). Paul also declared, “I could wish that I myself were accursed, . . . for the sake of my brethren, . . . who are Israelites” (Romans 9:3). Paul was willing to be separated from Christ so that his brethren might know their Messiah. What sacrifice Paul was willing to make for the sake of Israel!
At the conferences that our ministry hosts we often include a special Israel Prayer Watch so that believers can listen, agree, receive, learn and participate. At one of these Israel Prayer Watches I was given a wonderful interactive visionary encounter. I entered into rays of God’s brilliant white light. As I stepped into this light I saw a man standing at the end of a tunnel of God’s vast love. Then, suddenly, it was as though my being was soaring in the air, and leapt into the heart of the man standing in the light of God’s love. An apostolic heart of God was pounding loudly within him. Words in rhythm with the heartbeat of God were echoing in the heart of this man, who appeared to be a representation of Paul the apostle. Then I heard, “My heart’s desire is that all Israel be saved.” My own heart was pierced once again. I wept and wept for Israel’s salvation.
I have read this verse from the book of Romans many times. I have fasted and prayed much over the years for Israel’s sake. But this experience cemented into my being what is of utmost importance. We must pray for Israel’s salvation to go forth like a torch that is burning. God has desires–the Apostle Paul had desires–do you pray with a burning heart of desire for Israel’s salvation?
5. God Commands us to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
Pray and take a stand for Israel because God wants to bless Jerusalem and her inhabitants with His peace and goodness. David, the warrior psalmist, loved Jerusalem and fought many battles for her. Wars and heated conflicts still rage today over this piece of land in the Middle East. David’s exhortation in Psalm 122 must still be prayed and sung today: “May they prosper who love You. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.”
Consider God’s heart as revealed in many other Psalms: You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. Psalm 10:17–18 (niv) Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; The Lord delivers him in times of trouble. Psalm 41:1 (niv) I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
Psalm 140:12 (niv)
The Apostle Paul also loved Jerusalem and was concerned for the city, and for the welfare of her inhabitants. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote the following: But now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Romans 15:25–27
Today, with all of the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants, tourism on a downturn, tension and pressures, terrorism, wars and rumors of wars, Israel’s economy has been absolutely devastated. We must pray for the shalom of God for the city of peace. But we must do more. I have often quoted intercessor S. D. Gordon, “You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed. But you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
It is time for our works to match our faith. May God bless the ministries, and raise up many more to feed and clothe the poor, who give a cup of water to “the least of these my brethren”; Jesus’ brothers after the flesh. Yes, in the land of Israel today!
6. Israel’s Acceptance of Jesus Will Bring Life.
Pray and act for Israel because the Jewish people’s acceptance of the Messiah Jesus will lead to worldwide revival of unprecedented magnitude. Romans 11:15 says, “For if [Israel’s] rejection [of Christ] be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” Wow! Life from the dead!
Isaiah prophesied, “In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout; and they will fill the whole earth with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6). This is more than just natural fruit! Praying for Israel is one of the major keys to world revival. As the Jewish people are awakened out of their sleep and behold their Messiah, this will create a divine acceleration into a time when hundreds of thousands, if not literally millions, turn to Jesus as their Messiah. There is nothing more potent than a Jewish believer telling others about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Want to see worldwide revival? Then pray!
Israel’s acceptance of the glorious Messiah will be used to catalyze the greatest spiritual awakening that this planet has ever seen. The whole earth will be filled with the fruit of revival. I pray toward this end! Will you join me?
7. Jesus Linked His Second Coming to Israel’s Turning to Him.
Pray and take a stand for Israel because the Second Coming of Christ is linked to Israel’s response to Him. Jesus prophesied before His death, “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39). Jesus linked His Second Coming to Israel’s national returning to Him.
Now get the picture here! The Lord is not saying to the Jewish inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem that they shall never see Him again. On the contrary, He is saying that they shall not see Him until they are ready to welcome Him. When He came the first time He was not welcomed. The Messiah has no intention of repeating this scenario. Jesus is saying that His Second Coming will not take place until there is a Jewish population in Jerusalem who want Him with all of their hearts.
Do you want to see Jesus come back in your lifetime? Is it possible to hasten the day of His appearing? (See 2 Peter 3:12.) Do you want to see Jesus come again? Then pray that the blinders on the Jewish people’s eyes will fall off (see Romans 11:25), and that they will welcome their Messiah with open hearts.
Anna and Simeon spent their time in the temple preparing the way for the first coming of our glorious Savior and Lord (see Luke 2:25–38). So it will be before the Second Coming of our glorious Messiah. Hundreds and thousands of Annas and Simeons will arise across the nations, taking their place in temple ministry of worship and intercession, with watching and fasting preparing the way for the second Advent of our Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
Why pray and take a stand of action for Israel? Because Jesus said to, because Isaiah said to, because David the psalmist said to and because today the Holy Spirit is saying to. There may be many other reasons to pray and act for Israel. Pick whatever reason you want, but do something righteous; align with the Word of God, pray and take a stand for Israel!
A Watchman for Israel!
James W. Goll