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Because people have a certain idea in their mind when they hear the term “prayer letter”, we often get inquiries and comments about the uniqueness our prayer letter. Why do we cover the topics we cover? How do we come at things from such a different angle? The simple answer is things look different when you’re an Israeli living in Israel.
Our world is moving much faster than it did when my mother began writing the Maoz Israel Report some 45 years ago. At that time, news from Israel was virtually impossible to get, and so monthly updates were invaluable to our readers. Today the news changes not only daily but sometimes hourly. More than once we’ve written about a topic, only to have to edit it significantly just before it went to print because the reality on the ground had changed.
To resolve this, we have shifted breaking news and prayer updates to weekly emails while the monthly Maoz Israel Report—which goes out both in print and online—addresses deeper, longer-lasting issues and showcases what the Maoz team is doing on the ground in Israel.
Though the term “prayer letter” may bring a certain image to mind, we get a lot of comments on the uniqueness of our prayer letter. Why do we cover the topics we cover? How do we come at things from such a different angle? The simple answer is things look different when you’re an Israeli living in Israel. And while I don’t get to personally thank every person who gives and prays for our work here, I can offer a gift in return–a window into our daily lives as Israelis, as believers, as a family, as a ministry team—as pioneers.
Sometimes we cover local news updates and other times we address challenging issues for the local body of believers. But rather than just communicate what is happening, we address why we believe it is happening and how we can pray through the root issues. While the topics we address are often time-sensitive, some of them really strike a chord with our readers. If we have any complaints, it is that we don’t advertise the availability of the letter enough so more people know about it. And so, without further ado–here are some of the prayer topics we’ve addressed recently that have struck a chord with many of our readers. If these prayer points strike a chord with you, please pray along with us. We also love your feedback, so feel free to email us or sign up to receive the Weekly News and Prayer Letter directly.
Concerning the God of Israel:
As we pursue understanding God and His ways, it’s worth asking, “What did God see in Jacob that made Him change Jacob’s name to Israel as well as solidify that name with His own?” Of all the people God could’ve chosen to name Himself after, He chose a guy named Israel. Sure, he was the grandson of the beloved Abraham, but if you read the story of his life, he wasn’t necessarily what one would look for if you were to, for example, handpick a guy to represent a holy God.
Israel is not just a people—it is a character trait of a people. While believing culture has historically idealized gentleness and agreeableness in the pursuit of life and their faith, God made a clear statement about how He values someone who—with the right heart attitude—will wrestle like a maniac.
It’s hard to explain to those who don’t live here, but Israel regularly wrestles with significant dynamics that other nations and societies don’t even know exist. So, while it’s easy to look on from the outside and try to superimpose what may work in another country on Israel, it’s worth noting that while the ride may be bumpy, somehow, Israel—the wrestler—(eventually) always ends up on top.
After all, Israelis are the descendants of Jacob, who wouldn’t stop wrestling until he got the blessing.
So, while I often disagree with decisions our government makes, at no point is there a feeling that any power-hungry Israeli is looking to use the pandemic to recreate a Nazi Germany-type discriminating culture or dictatorship. Whether any of us agree with the vaccinations or not, this is a nation that exists only by the supernatural intervention of God. Much of this supernatural intervention was done through unbelieving Israelis who couldn’t help but fulfill God’s will. And while Israel has not yet been fully restored to God, there are decent people in our government who are wrestling through a way to balance the medical limitations of this nation with its financial, emotional, and security needs.
The Green Passport is one example (which in principle I personally don’t care for) of trying to avoid the only other alternative of everyone sitting at home in lockdown. This document that would allow Israelis to avoid quarantines and give them access to things like crowded events was at first only going to be available to the vaccinated and COVID-recovered population. Now, after more wrestling of how to include as many people as possible, the government will be permitting people who test positive for antibodies or provide a recent negative Covid test result to be included as well. Meanwhile the conversation is still on the table and court cases are being filed to work through the details of this new world we live in. (And even since I originally wrote this prayer point, the tally of cases has dropped to about 500 cases nationally and Israel enthusiastically dropped the Green Passport restrictions.) This is what a wrestling nation looks like.
Israel may not be making all the right decisions, but it is trying, and being a small nation, can adjust quickly when better options are on the table. We believers would do well to cover our decision-makers in prayer for wisdom rather than evoking lines about Hitler or the Mark of the Beast being around the corner.
Yeshua lived in a time of brutal, evil rulers, yet His commentary about them was along the lines of, “Give to Caesar what is his, and if you’re forced to carry a soldier’s tunic, carry it an extra mile.” When Pilate told Yeshua he had the power to crucify or set Yeshua free, Yeshua explained he would have no power if it wasn’t first given to him by God. He told us to be alert and pray earnestly for godly leaders, as that is His will. But even without godly rulers, God is still able to advance His Kingdom on the earth.
Father, we thank You for choosing a man who became a family, who then became a nation to represent You on earth.
- We have confidence in Your unshakable plan for the ages.
- At no point did You instruct us to be afraid of things happening on earth. We thank You that You have the whole world in Your hands.
- We ask, first and foremost, that Israel become known as a place where Your presence and favor dwells.
- Give grace to this nation, made of frail humans whom You created and then chose.
- It is Your desire that Israel be a light set on a hill for the nations to see and know the truth.
- We recognize that many decisions made by Israeli leaders are not simple, and often involve choosing the best option rather than a good option.
- Show Your people what they need to know about their earthly governments—and how to identify the things that will matter eternally.
- Give us leaders who will protect the family unit and the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. When the families are in order, our society will thrive.
- Surround the leaders of the new government with capable and wise counsel.
- At every step of the way, let Israel know they exist not because of their gifts and achievements, but only because You said it would be so.
- Give believers around the world a deep understanding of Israel that goes beyond the sensational.
- Let Your Body worldwide see the armies of the hosts of heaven above the activities of the kingdoms of men.
Concerning the Fellowship of Artists:
Everything the world knows about worshipping the one true God originated in Israel—and Israel had much more to offer in that arena. So, when we first had the vision to see the restoration of modern-day Levites, we thought of all the practical things we needed in order to bring the vision to pass.
We needed a place where musicians could create, discover, and record fresh sounds of worship. We wanted a place where many projects could be produced simultaneously. We wanted to train kids from a young age in their craft so that when the time came to record the music or lead worship before a congregation, it would be done in the most excellent manner. We wanted musicians to see other musicians as their partners—not their rivals—and thus the “fellowship” part of the vision was just as important as the “artists” part.
We also knew we were taking on a sect of society that is inherently delicate and moody. What we didn’t expect was that in the process of working on worship projects, musicians would experience deep emotional healing. It’s happening so much now, we’ve affectionately dubbed the FoA studio the Rehabilitation Center for Emotionally Damaged Worshippers. It makes sense, since we know how sensitive creative people can be, and we know how hard it is to live in Israel. And still, it caught us by surprise that God is taking an active role in healing His people, so that they can truly be a light to the nations from a place of strength.
Father, You made Your people beautifully, and You made them to be whole.
- Knowing the power that can be released from an army of broken worshippers who have been made whole, we stand before You to cover the FoA with our prayers.
- Cover their families under the shadow of Your wing.
- You promised blessings on the children of the righteous. Forbid the wrath of the enemy be released upon the most vulnerable in each family unit.
- Bless all interactions between members of the FoA. Let words and meanings be clear and leave no room for miscommunication or offense.
- Let the camaraderie in the studio be a light to all who come.
- We know past hurts can make it hard for people to see and hear things without a filter of their fear and pain—we ask for You to remove this barrier, and instill the ability to receive love from others.
- In Exodus 31 You anointed people to create beautiful things for Your glory. The calling on Your people to glorify Your name remains—pour out gifts and skills to make Your name great among the nations.
Concerning IDF Soldiers:
They are our pride and joy. We post their smiling faces on our social media—we know they are the descendants of the Israelite army that—time and again—defeated the enemies of God. Whole TV shows are written about the excellence in which they are able to accomplish seemingly impossible missions.
But behind those smiling faces are kids who grew up loving their country, and knowing that if someone didn’t stand in the gap—there would be no country. At 19 and 20, when most young people in western countries are struggling to choose between doing their college homework and partying, IDF soldiers are standing at a guard post or sitting in camouflaged mud waiting for instructions as to how they will risk their lives that day.
Right before Memorial Day this year, when Israel commemorates fallen soldiers and victims of terror, a 26-year-old army vet of the elite Golani Brigade named Itzik Saidian—who began suffering from PTSD after fighting in the 2014 war in Gaza—set himself on fire in front of the Ministry of Defense. According to reports, his commander was brutally killed just feet from him and he has not been able to escape from that moment since.
For sure, no Israeli wants to see their wounded soldiers abandoned after the fact—but the bureaucracy that one is required to go through to get help in this country is intense, and there is more than one clerk assigned to the task who knows nothing about tact and delicacy. Israelis took the event hard and military leaders took it on themselves to not only visit the family, but to immediately change some of the standard procedures that were particularly difficult for trauma victims.
In the meantime, we’re entering a new round of fighting, and it seems inevitable that numbers of those suffering from PSTD—both soldiers and civilians—will increase.
Father, You are the Lord—the healer of our bodies, souls, and minds.
- You gave Israel this land; it is up to You to sustain them there.
- You see the damage the enemies of Israel are doing to Your people beyond the battlefield. Protect their hearts and minds, as well as their bodies.
- You see the difficulty—especially without a government in place to handle internal processes.
- Resolve the government gridlock so people who need care can receive it.
- Some of the difficulty in the process is an attempt to weed out people who try to abuse the system. Grant supernatural wisdom for those in charge to identify those who truly need help.
- Bring to the attention of those in charge when someone is not receiving the care they need.
- Guide those in charge of the care to know how to bring these damaged people to a place of wholeness again.
- You are ultimately the best help these soldiers will get. Show Yourself to them. Heal them in ways no man can.
- Itzik is currently in critical condition in the burn unit. Restore him and restore his life.
- Let neighboring enemy nations know there is a God in Israel who heals the wounds they cause—inside and out.