At a time when Israel faces caustic criticism and a rising tide of anti-Semitism from nations around the world, Christians gathered in Jerusalem -- and thousands more tuned into a live broadcast -- to pray during the Global Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem on Sunday.
This year's attendees included an array of Christians, including Palestinians, taking part in the Jerusalem event. Around the world, 300,000 churches had signed up to host their own gatherings to pray while the event was broadcast live on GodTV, a Christian satellite channel.
“It is incredibly moving to see so many Christians who have come together for the purpose of praying for the peace of Jerusalem,” columnist Michael Freund, director of Shavei Israel, told Travelujah. “These people sincerely love Israel and they believe it is part of their obligation to bless Israel. We gladly welcome them.”
Christian leaders from Jerusalem and around the world called for prayer, including Rebecca Brimmer, director of Bridges for Peace, who noted that the supplication was originating from the city where God chose to put his name.
This was the first time that a Catholic priest joined the line-up in the Global Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. A pastor from Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, also prayed for Israel.
Robert Stearns, executive director of Eagles’ Wings and founder of the global prayer day, said this year's prayers for the city were especially poignant and timely.
“The need has never been greater,” he told Travelujah. “The whole world is taking sides regarding Jerusalem.”
Stearns also noted that in his 10 years organizing this event, cooperation between believers had never been stronger. Palestinian Christians prayed for the peace of the city alongside Jews and international Christians. Prayer was also lifted up for persecuted Christians around the world and for Israel's neighbors, including the Palestinians.
“We are not praying because we have all the answers,” Stearns said. “We are praying because we need God's wisdom.”
Gidon Ariel, an Orthodox Jew who runs Root Source, which promotes understanding and cooperation between Jews and Christians, said that Israel gets to know who her friends were during the tough times.
“This [event] speaks to Israel that you have friends and you are not alone,” he told Travelujah. “These Christians are taking up what they believe to be their responsibility as believers in the God of Israel as he wrote in his Bible to [pray for the peace of Jerusalem].”
Gila Gamliel, deputy chair for the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, and Naomi Tsur, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, were some of the Israeli dignitaries who addressed the event.
Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.
Publication date: October 4, 2011