Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.’ (Ps. 122:6-7)
My wife, Lucy, and I went to Israel a few years ago. We both saw, heard, and experienced things we will never forget.
Let me take you to our last night in Jerusalem. As we were gathering to go to a rabbi’s home for the Sabbath meal, I noticed that one of our tour guides—a Palestinian Christian—was troubled. I asked if she were all right and she shook her head and said that a Palestinian family had just been fire bombed in Nablus. We had just been there a few days before. Some children had been killed. She was angry and fed up.
That night the rabbi and his wife took us through the rituals and provided lovely hospitality. While he talked with great passion about how the Holy Land had been given to the Jews, it was obvious our tour guide was in great pain.
I don’t pass judgment on the Jews. I don’t pass judgment on the Palestinians. The conflicts in the Holy Land have been going on for centuries.
If we presumed to think it would be simple for the Jews to give part of the land to the Palestinians, it shows that we don’t understand the depth of their suffering through being exiled, expelled, and slaughtered. If we presumed to judge the Palestinians for their desire to fight the Jews, it shows that we don’t understand their grief and anger about losing their homes, land, and work by a decision they never agreed to.
Going to Jerusalem in the summer of 2015 was life changing and spiritually challenging. When I witnessed the great divisions between the Jewish section, the Christian section, and the Muslim section, I felt much grief.
Maybe the only way forward would be for all of us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Maybe peace in Jerusalem can only happen through an intervention by God.
I encourage us to pray fervently for the peace of Jerusalem. Walking through the streets of that city God’s presence is palpable. All the prayers that have been said there have permeated the air and seeped into the ground.
Every child of God, whether Muslim or Jew or Christian, desperately needs that peace.
- Very often before we can have peace with others, we need to have peace within. How do you need God’s peace to touch your heart and calm your spirit?
- As God sees all the pain and separation between the Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Jerusalem—and elsewhere as well, I imagine He feels great sorrow and grief. What do you imagine?
- Jesus has said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” How might Jesus be calling you to be blessed by both praying for and working towards peace in your life, relationships, and community?