Prayer Concerning Holy Days and Escaped Prisoners

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson

Happy High-Holiday month!

We got a notice this week from our Maoz branch in the U.S. that Monday was Labor Day and they were sorry the office would be closed until Tuesday. Our team in Israel chuckled as we looked at our September calendar knowing that the High Holidays in September means Israelis work only about half of each week for the whole month. And while that may sound awesome, the reality is that the kids are out of school more days than parents are off of work so the whole month becomes a game of juggling babysitters, holiday meals, a fast and the sukkah construction. But such is the modern existence of a nation determined to keep holy the days God commanded them thousands of years ago.

As next week’s prayer letter falls on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), we will be sending out a special letter to share prayer points of repentance as the nation shuts down. Many will fast and pray and even those who consider God to be a less important part of their life will take note of the day dedicated to considering their life.

A Prayer For You This Rosh Hashana 2021

A special greeting from some of our staff in Jerusalem

1. Concerning Holy Days

Almost every month in the Jewish calendar has some sort of Biblical day of significance—and some months are almost entirely consumed with holidays and the preparation for them. As disruptive as it often feels to people who love routines, the constant remembrance of God’s wonders in the annual cycle of Israeli culture goes a long way towards giving Israelis a strong identity. It also keeps the door open for Israelis to consider their own personal need for God.

  • You are the God of time—and times, seasons, and epochs.
  • Year after year, century after century, Israel has celebrated and commemorated the days You commanded. On these days, we ask that You remember Your promise to save them—all of them. (Rom. 11:26)
  • As Israelis and Jews around the world stop their daily life to remember and thank You for Your wonders, open their eyes to Your full plan for them.
  • Be with those who will struggle to put together a holiday meal. Bring together neighbors, friends or family who can help.
  • Help those crying out to You—for those who I Stand with Israel can help—bring them to our attention.
  • You said one day the nations will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles together with Israel. (Zech. 14:16) Open doors for Christians who are interested in celebrating now but don’t know how to celebrate.
  • The Biblical holidays are a celebration of You. Some have fallen prey to leaders and rabbis who would make it all about the right and wrong ways to perform rituals. Bring Your purpose for these days back into the focus of the celebration.

2. Concerning the Prison Break

On a more somber note, in a prison break reminiscent of the WWII “Great Escape,” six highly dangerous terrorists escaped through a tunnel from Gilboa, considered Israel’s most secure prison. All of them were serving more-than-life prison sentences and one of the escapees was the symbol of the second intifada in the early 2000’s that brought about the deaths of some 1,000 Israelis.

As expected, prisons across the country have clamped down and begun their own internal inspections. Roadblocks have been set up in places across the country to try to find them, but authorities have—so far—reportedly found little in clues as to where they went.

The escape is both an embarrassment to Israel’s famed intelligence capabilities and a security concern because terrorists running free within Israel is no small threat. And though these prisoners likely spent years digging this tunnel, their escape comes at a time when Israel’s new government is struggling to present itself as capable in the area of national security.

  • Father, You are our strong tower. The righteous find safety in You.
  • You know where these terrorists are and what they are planning. Expose those plans.
  • Cause the plans of the wicked to fall back upon them.
  • May their efforts be filled with power struggles, confusion, disagreements and information leaks.
  • Turn this escape into an opportunity to locate and apprehend even more terrorists.
  • May those who run with the wicked but have even the slightest openness to You, Lord—be rescued from a life of terrorism and destruction.
  • “The wicked make evil plans against the righteous. They grind their teeth at them in anger. But the Lord laughs at the wicked. He sees that their day is coming. The wicked draw their swords. They bend their bows. They try to kill the poor and helpless… But their swords will stab their own hearts. Their bows will break…. The power of the wicked will be broken…. The Lord watches over the lives of the innocent.” (Psalm 37:12-17)
  • You are the defender of the righteous. We ask for a spirit of righteousness to dwell in Israel—so that Israel may enjoy Your complete protection.

3. Concerning the Underworld

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have seen quite a few civilians injured or even killed due to assassinations “gone wrong” by rivalries in the underworld of organized crime.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman in her 30’s was shot while driving with her 4-year-old daughter,  most likely by a member of a criminal family who mistakenly thought she was a wanted target. Sadly, the shot was aimed well towards the head and the woman is still in critical condition in the hospital.

Another case, just a couple of days ago, happened close by, in Ramle, as two gangs were fighting and firearms were involved. One of the shots was fired in the wrong direction, entering a 30- year-old woman’s apartment and wounding her fatally in her upper body. She died within minutes.

Growing up I always enjoyed the fact that despite the constant threat from terrorists, we as Israelis had a very low violent crime rate. It is (still!) safer to walk downtown in our major cities at 2 am than it is in most other major cities around the world.

  • Father, you are the sovereign King and Ruler of the overworld and underworld.
  • May Your kingdom may be established here on earth, in Israel as it is in heaven.
  • Grant wisdom to the government and special police forces looking to shut down this cultural cancer and stop the violence from spreading.
  • Samuel grew up with godless “siblings” and still grew up a righteous man. Many children are now growing up in crime families and learning evil from a young age. Rescue them, protect them—be with them.
  • Shine Your light in the darkest places and bring forth repentance and forgiveness.
  • You are a God of restoration and comfort. We pray for the families that have lost or are hurting together with their loved ones. We ask that You comfort and restore them.
  • In You we find salvation! We ask that even in the most difficult situations, Your truth will be revealed and Your Spirit may touch the lives affected by this violence.

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Your fellow intercessors,

Kobi and Shani Ferguson
and the entire Maoz Israel Team

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