Prayer Concerning Israel’s Future Spiritual Leaders

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
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My dad says the first time he met my mom she was wearing an ugly yellow dress. Thankfully, he was able to get past that first impression, but the place where he met her and that ugly dress was at Jack Hayford’s church in California. Shira was speaking about Israel. Pastor Jack had been a longtime friend of my mother and her family and he had invited her to come and share about living in Israel,  and the prophetic significance of the times. As she did in other congregations where she spoke, Shira challenged Jewish believers in Yeshua to move to Israel and help build a believing community. My dad took the challenge, and the rest can be read about in the “How it All Began” series here.

Pastor Jack continued to be an avid supporter and encourager for my parents and their work. Though I was young and therefore didn’t spend much time directly with him, I would hear his name and references to encouraging conversations from him often, especially during difficult times my parents went through. I appreciated how confident his stances were on God’s faithfulness because—well, the Scriptures were clear about God’s character. He was an immovable pillar, unimpressed with church fads and Christian hype. Despite our grief at his recent passing, we find deep satisfaction in knowing that during his lifetime he was able to transfer his wisdom and knowledge of God to those he mentored as well as to the masses in books, sermons and even songs.

As a wife and mother of five in my forties, I am keenly aware of the vibrant generation that is younger than me—and the one older than me. It feels like a race against time to try and absorb all the wisdom the “older ones” have gathered from an age we now can only read or hear stories about. I want their wisdom for myself, and I want it for my children—and for their children.

Prayer Concerning Future Leaders

I know in Israel, my generation were the guinea pigs of the Body. Kosher guinea pigs of course. With a nation so young, we were the first generation of Jewish believers to be born and raised in Israel in two millennia. How do you raise kids to be Israeli, Jewish and believers in Yeshua—let alone leaders of such a community—when there is no model of what that looks like?

Kobi and I have been blessed to continue the story my parents began. They took on the task of raising Israeli-believing kids and building an Israeli ministry—and then, when the time was right, passed onto us,  the next generation—the reins of leadership.

Have you ever seen the first fruits of a harvest? They’re not the prettiest, but they matter. It takes courage (and a lot of prayer) to build something from scratch and then hand it over to my generation of first fruits Israeli-born believers.

As I look across the land, it seems evident that in the coming years and decades many of the ministries that have been built in Israel will need to find young Israeli leaders to replace the founders.

These leaders will not just grow out of nothing, they must be deliberately raised up. But they must be raised up uniquely—with deep roots in the LordAND in the culture, language and land of Israel.

The passing on of the knowledge and wisdom of God from one generation to the next is the most significant and vulnerable part of God’s plan, which is why the Lord repeatedly instructed the Children of Israel:

Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. Deuteronomy 4:9

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

  • Father, You are the ancient of days and Your fame lives on generation after generation!
  • May Your Kingdom reign forever on earth as it is in heaven.
  • You are not a theology to be understood—You are a person to be experienced. It’s a privilege to be allowed into Your inner courts and hear Your voice and we long to be in that place with You.
  • You chose Abraham because You knew he would be a good father. So, we begin our requests for the future of Israel where it all started—in the family unit.
  • We bless marriages as You have brought them together. May husbands and wives walk their paths together in unity, honesty, clarity, and passion
  • The knowledge of You is most effectively passed down through families; and so we bless parents and grandparents with the understanding. Show them how to pass down their wisdom and knowledge of God in unique ways so each child will be able to grasp who You are and what You have called them to be and do.
  • Each generation must experience You anew—and so we ask for personal encounters to each child who calls on Your name in Israel. They need encounters that they will be able to carry with them through difficult seasons like school and military.
  • Beyond physical family, young Israeli believers are in much need of spiritual mothers and fathers. Bring to light those who would make worthy spiritual mothers and fathers and connect them with those who are looking.
  • In Israel the ultra-religious community is known for protecting and defending those within their community, even when that person is the one in the wrong. Even You defended the adulterous woman against a mob of accusers who had no interest in seeing her restored. Show believers in the Body in Israel how to defend and protect our own when they stumble, and how to restore them.
  • We ask for you to make it clear to those who have faithfully searched for many years in ministries and congregations across Israel when it is time for them to step aside and allow the next generation of your appointed ones to move in to take over. 
  • We ask that these people who have been appointed may receive the instruction and guidance they need to do the work that you’ve called them to do..
  • May the congregants and those who work under the current leadership embrace new leaders You have appointed so Your Kingdom may advance yet another generation.
  • Handing over a life’s work is no easy task. Grant Your pioneer leaders the courage and wisdom required for such a step. Then guide them to once again pioneer what following You looks like after they have passed the baton of formal leadership. You have plans for each of us down to our last breath!
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