Prayer concerning the Body in Israel

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
Israelis pull off the road and stand still for a moment of silence as sirens blare across the land for Holocaust Day.

In Israel the coming week will be an emotional rollercoaster. Thursday we will remember those lost in the Holocaust to the sound of sirens across the land. Then—just a few days later—the nation will stand still again and remember those who fell defending our land. The two days are similar in layout—sirens, ceremonies, heart-wrenching stories—but the most significant difference for me is that Holocaust Day is mostly a day of remembering pain while Memorial Day, which commemorates those who fell defending our nation, carries with it so much hope. And as the sun sets to end the day, the nation begins  Independence Day celebrations.

The country of Israel exists on the term “yizkor” meaning “remember.” The memory of the fallen and the lost and our ultimate survival is what holds us together as a people.

The Torah—the Word of God given to the people of Israel—and the holidays that God appointed for us, reflect the same element of remembrance. Each of the holidays we celebrate in Israel are a unique story of God’s salvation and grace toward the people of Israel. If not for His mercy and outstretched arm, we wouldn’t exist today.

The difference between remembering God’s salvation plan and remembering the pain and hurt inflicted upon the people of Israel generation after generation, is that carrying the latter can also bring a lot of unforgiveness and hatred toward those who have hurt us. Gathering around a memory of pain is problematic because it is not centered around God and His faithfulness, and that it doesn’t bring forth hope of salvation and restoration. Joseph is a prime example of someone who remembered what happened but viewed the entire event through God’s destiny and ultimate salvation rather than injustice. It was this revelation that allowed him to become who he was destined to become.

Therefore, it is our prayer for these coming days that God will give us the ability to remember and forgive, and that He will grant the same blessing of freedom to you and your family. God loves to be the hero of our story, and we love to watch Him do it.  

Concerning the Body in Israel:

“You speak like a mother in Israel,” a minister once told me after I went on a rant of all the things that frustrated me about Israelis—specifically, believing Israelis. “You’re frustrated at the shortcomings of people but it’s not an angry frustration. You sound like a parent who’s just frustrated their child isn’t living up to their potential.”

When I think of the term “mother” in Israel I think of some of our legendary women like our former Prime Minister Golda Meir, the legendary songwriter Naomi Shemer who wrote “Jerusalem of Gold,” or any number of godly women who worked on the ground level to build up a community of believers in Israel over the years. But in the sense that I view my country, my people—especially the Body of believers in Israel—with the protectiveness and compassion a mother does, I had to agree. I’m sure if you’re a parent you can understand when I say this country drives me crazy, but I will go to the ends of the earth to see her grow into what I know she is destined to become before the Lord.

I’ve watched the Body of believers in Israel grow from hundreds to tens of thousands. I remember thinking to myself as a young adult how nice it was that there were so many new believers, and that we didn’t know each of them by name. I remember when virtually all believers were immigrants trying to learn a new life and language while trying to define what believing in Yeshua would look like in the young Israeli culture. And then they had kids who would only ever know Israel as their home.

I’ve seen people with leadership potential immigrate here and dive into their calling with all the bumps and scrapes our desert thistle of a land has to offer. And then I’ve watched young native-born believers grow into their giftings, whether in ministry or the secular market.

And still, with all this progress, the Body in Israel is still very young. But because of her unique calling, she’s growing up on a stage with the world watching. It’s a bit like trying to raise an elephant in an ancient artifacts shop. It’s messy, but if I may, a well-trained adult elephant is a force to be reckoned with.

  • Father, You not only planned the beginning and end of the story—You ARE the Beginning and the End!
  • We are living out Your plan of the ages, so let us live in a manner worthy of the calling in which You called us.
  • The Body in Israel is young and immature in some ways, yet energetic and vibrant in other ways. Let our strengths shine forth to give You glory, even as You work on our weaknesses and immature areas.
  • A healthy Body is made up of healthy individuals and families. We ask for You to build Your temple using the living stones of Your people in Israel.
  • Israel needs many more congregations and spiritual leaders—specifically mothers and fathers—in this land.
  • Believers in Israel are often spread out across the land, and come from different cultures around the world. Give believers a sense of camaraderie—something in common— something to rally around and fight for together.
  • Above all, let believers in Israel be known for their unity and love for one another. This will spur Israelis to jealousy.
  • Yeshua, You showed the adulterous woman mercy and also led her into righteousness in just a few sentences. Give us the power and wisdom to do the same.
  • Believers in Israel experience so many different threats and hostilities. May our passion be to carry each other’s burdens and not add to them when we see our brethren struggling.
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