Prayer for Spring Holidays and Protection

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
Our Alisa at a refugee station in Hungary with six of the eight orphans Oxana (see photo below) adopted

The good news is that for the first time in two years, people can celebrate the spring holidays without restrictions and the border is open to tourists! (And Maoz’ Independence Tour that was delayed last year will take place in just a few weeks—can’t wait to show you pictures!) The other good news is our team members made it to Hungary safely. They will spend the week there helping refugees and giving the locals who have been laboring day and night for weeks a breather. Thursday’s Maoz Israel Report email will highlight more firsthand stories from Ukraine.

Morale Matters: Oxana arrived on a train from Ukraine after weeks on the road with her 8 adopted and one natural born child. Her husband stayed behind to fight. The day she arrived happened to be her birthday but on Sunday everything is closed. So the volunteers got together and baked her a cake.

Concerning the Spring Holiday Season

The prayer-worthy news is we are entering a unique season where the convergence of holidays of the three major religions in Israel (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) warrant extra prayer for peace and protection. Passover week, Resurrection Sunday and Ramadan (Islam’s month of daily prayer and fasting sunrise to sunset) will all overlap in April. The Jewish and Gregorian calendar shift a bit to the left and right each year and as such, some holidays always take place close to each other. However, as the Islamic calendar is lunar, Ramadan shifts several weeks every year and can fall on any month. (The first year that our kids attended an Arab/Jewish school, Hanukkah, Christmas and Ramadan all fell during the same week.) In the land of Israel, you can sense the spiritual intensity as millions of Muslims in Israel proper, the territories and all throughout the Middle East fast and pray for a solid month. The physical manifestation of this intensity can result in a tangible heaviness in the air and sometimes more frequent acts of terrorism and violence. Remember the more than 3,440 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza last year? Yeah, that was also during Ramadan.

In the past week and a half, there have been four different acts of terrorism—mostly street stabbings but one attack included the use of a car and another an M-16 rifle. Two of the attacks were reportedly carried out by ISIS supporters. The stabbing in Beersheba was especially heart-wrenching as two mothers were among the murdered. One of the mothers happened to be related to a police officer who discovered when he arrived on the scene that his sister was the victim. The other turned out to be the aunt of the paramedic who arrived as a first responder. An off-duty bus driver with a gun happened by the area and was able to neutralize the terrorist. Thankfully, despite these attacks we are not experiencing the large scale attacks that characterized the intifada decades ago. So for those of you who will now write to ask if you should still come on your planned visit, I would respond that statistically Israel is still safer than the average city near you.

We recognize there are facts, and then there are spiritual realities. Like the Apostle Paul so powerfully taught the church in Corinth:

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

We approach our Father with confidence, as we know our God does not view such events of injustice with apathy.

  • Father, thank You for being steady, strong, and superior over any human plan. When the nations rage and waste their time with futile plans, You laugh from heaven and remind us that You have placed Your chosen king, Yeshua, on the throne! (Psalm 2:1-6)
  • We pray for supernatural peace in Israel during this time leading up to these critical holidays. As Jews and Christians make their way to Israel to celebrate Passover and Resurrection Sunday, let peace be within the walls of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. (Psalm 122:6-7)
  • We pray for Your healing in the lives of those affected by terrorism in the past months, those who are healing from physical, mental, and spiritual trauma, and those who have lost loved ones. May they identify You as the source of their healing.
  • Taking the life of a man, even if it is justified, is not an easy choice to make. And so we pray for the civilian bus driver, Arthur Chaimov, who even sought to spare the life of the terrorist before having no choice but to neutralize the attacker. Lord, heal his mind and heart from this traumatic experience. Meet him in the crucial place within himself where his decision to take the life of another can haunt him.
  • Lord, let this be a unique time on Your calendar. Instead of unrest, draw us into Your presence. Let the stirring up be inside the hearts of the people of this land—especially those who don’t know You yet.
  • Rather than news of terror attacks emanating from Israel, let this be a time for Jerusalem to arise, and let the glory of the Lord shine! We speak against any evil forces of darkness, confusion, and hatred. Lord, arise and let the nations come to Your light! (Isaiah 60:1-3)
  • We pray for truth to be taught in the school systems in Israel. We speak against the propaganda taught in many Palestinian schools, leaving every generation feeling jilted and hungry for retaliation.
  • Raise up leaders among Palestinian Arabs who will move their culture forward—past offense—to thrive as individuals and as a society. Above all, reach them with Your truth that sets all free.
  • Thank You for causing certain Arab Israeli parties to speak up and publicly condemn these recent attacks and encourage peace. Let their words be followed by action.
  • Keep the Israeli police officers, security agents, and emergency workers responding to these incidents safe in Your protective hands. Give them wisdom when they need it to decide what to do in these tense situations.
  • We look to You for help, Maker of heaven and earth! Thank You for Your promise to watch over Israel, and guard us against stumbling, so we may never get weary or sleep on the job! (Psalm 121:1-4) We entrust this season into Your capable hands.
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