Prayer concerning Arab families and work

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
The irregularity of when stores have been able to function over the past two years have resulted in a number of businesses shutting down.

Just before the end of 2021 we went to purchase some basic appliances for the new office space in our ministry center in Jerusalem (we’re expanding!) The store we visited is one we have frequented for electronics and home appliances for years. We hadn’t been there for ages because—you know, COVID—and we’ve been careful with our spending when it’s not an absolute must. 

“All floor models are 25% off and the store is shutting down,” the manager who had given us excellent service all these years told us when we walked in. The first part of that sentence excited me, but the second part made my heart sink. “Why?!” I asked. He explained the difficulty the store has had being in a mall with all the shutdowns and restrictions: “I’ve worked seven days a week, haven’t taken a single day off in a year, even slept here in the store trying to keep it afloat. But I failed.” It wasn’t a complaint, but it was the deep sigh of a man who had done everything he knew to do to succeed. He would’ve kept going except the higher ups in the company made the decision to pull the plug on the store. 

There’s a level of grit I love about our people who prefer to work hard to accomplish something rather than debate how fair or unfair life has been to them. And still, as a culture, they tend to feel the responsibility lies in their own strength, when in reality, they have only survived—and succeeded—because God said it would be so. The more Israel learns to cling to God—to wrestle with Him until He relents and gives His blessing—the more she will live up to her name “Israel” (one who wrestled with God and prevailed).

Concerning Arab families and work within Israel:

When I was a kid, the infamous wall between Palestinian-controlled areas and Israeli areas did not exist. Israel was Israel. There were Arab villages and Jewish towns but no real separation when it came to everyday activity. I remember whole strips of shopping areas Israeli Jews loved to frequent because you could get great deals and the style was unique. The cost of living in Arab areas was much less than in the metropolitan areas where Jews live, so the cost of their products and produce was cheaper as well. 

Then came the first intifada and the second. The wall was the main reason the second intifada ended. Suicide bombers and their teams could not build bombs in Judea and Samaria and sneak them into Israeli cities. The momentum died down and today, while there are still plenty of terrorists who would jump at the opportunity of “reclaiming their land” by murdering everyone walking on it, there are plenty of others who miss the open borders into Israel proper where work was plentiful.  

We know nature abhors a vacuum and as such, the demand for labor has resulted in the daily crossing over of an estimated 200,000 workers from Palestinian-controlled territories. It’s not that Israel doesn’t give out work permits to Palestinians, it’s that the cost of getting such permits per project cuts deep into their already meager wages, so they prefer to earn their wages under the radar. This practice, however, means the workers have no rights and no recourse if their bosses treat them unjustly. 

“I’m not a terrorist, I just want to feed my family and send our daughter to school and in our village,  there is no work,” said one worker who sneaks into Israel daily. I watched the entire report with tears of frustration in my eyes. He’s probably telling the truth. Probably. When you aren’t raised in hate propaganda, it is human nature to want to build a family in peace and grow a generation beyond you in a better world than you grew up with. But the other guy who is a terrorist knows to use the same lines of “I’m just a poor soul who …” And how can you tell the difference between the two?

It’s no secret to locals that the Palestinian Authority talks big about wanting to have their own country but puts little effort into building one with the area it already rules. Fighting to tear down another nation is much easier than building your own. And so, despite the statistic that Palestinians have been given more funds per capita than any other people in the world, they remain a poor and struggling society.

I know the culturally acceptable thing to do is wish Palestinian Arabs a better life with nicer things and better leaders. But wishing people to merely have a more comfortable life on their way to eternal separation from God doesn’t seem like the loving thing to do. So, my prayer is first for their salvation, knowing that God can’t help but shower His blessings on those who are His. (Matt 6:33)

  • Heavenly Father, You are the Ruler and the King of every nation. 
  • You desire blessings on the people You created and have invited them into Your covenant of blessings. 
  • Most Palestinian Arabs have never heard of this invitation—and even moreso do not know the One who invites is of the Jewish people they have been taught to fear and hate.
  • We know walking in Your ways may not be easy, but it assures access to Your blessings.
  • Set a table in the presence of the enemy. As a testimony to those around them, may Your blessings be overtly evident in the lives of those who have chosen You. 
  • Some people have brought Christianity to the Middle East mixed in with hate for Israel. Demonstrate clearly that love for You and love for Israel are inseparable truths.
  • Grant Israel’s military leaders the shrewdness in balancing the need for security and the social rest that comes when families are allowed to thrive. 
  • Give Israel’s political leaders wisdom in passing laws that will protect Israeli citizens as well as those who desire to cross over for an honest day of work.
  • We recognize that economic uncertainty can push moderate Muslims into the arms of radicals. We ask for economic solutions that will encourage people in their desire to build families.
  • Protect Israel’s borders as well as her streets and marketplaces. 
  • Expose the plans of the enemy through informants—but also, supernaturally through revelations to those who will Hear Your voice. May You be known as the protector of Israel—and not the Mossad.
  • Grant spiritual intuition to soldiers at checkpoints and dangerous neighborhoods to recognize a threat before it comes near.
  • May Your peace reign in Jerusalem as a testimony to Your greatness!
  • You see the constant threat against Israel from surrounding and nearby nations. You did not keep Your people through thousands of years of struggles and bring them back to Your Promised Land only to have them destroyed there. Shut the mouths of the lions and turn the enemy’s weapons against them. 
  • You have a plan for the many peoples living in the Middle East (Arabs, Persians, Afghans, etc.). Glorify Your name and bring that plan to pass.
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