Prayer Identity and Safety

Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson
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A large funeral procession in his home village of Kisra-Sumei in northern Israel in honor of 19 year old Yezen Falah. Yezen, a Druze who joined Israel’s police force only a year before was one of two police officers killed while defending their country from terrorists. ISIS took responsibility for the attack.

About half our team came home this weekend from the border of Hungary. The other half— including a Maoz board member—tested positive for COVID and couldn’t return home until recovering. “It was sooo worth it, though!” our team said. “There’s so much need! If we didn’t have family to come back to in Israel to take care of, we would’ve just stayed till the end of the war.”

As for us back in the homeland, we are in a constant battle with the war of the Gods – the conflict over which God – Allah or Yahweh – will be worshipped on the Temple Mount. Though, in the natural, the war looks like a struggle between two people groups and land.

When my mother first arrived in Israel in 1959, no self-respecting Arab would have ever referred to themselves as a Palestinian. It was actually Jews who used the term Palestinian liberally for themselves before Israel was reborn in 1948. The term did not begin to regularly refer to Arabs until after 1967. It’s true, this part of history doesn’t make the news or modern narrative. But if you look at the 1947 U.N. documents that discussed the partition of land of “Palestine and Trans Jordan”—you’ll find only “Jews and Arabs” were mentioned. In addition, a dictionary released around 1939 showed today’s star of Israel modern-day flag and the name “Palestine” below it. For more on this topic, read here.

The issue at hand for prayer today is identity. The short, simplified version is that today there are over a million-and-a-half Israeli-Arab citizens, and well over 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. These are not two different people groups, these are all Arabs with two different identities and political situations.

I say all this to explain the significance of Hamas in Gaza and other organizations—like, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and ISIS—that are always looking for ways to infiltrate Israel by building tunnels, flying fire kites into Israel—and encouraging Israeli-Arabs (who are free to move about, work, and be elected in Israel) to see themselves as part of the fight against Israel.

Years of the schools indoctrinating kids into the identity of a Palestinian victim not only perpetrates chronic frustration and violence, but it also steals the potential many of these children could have if they focused on excelling in proper education.

Like Yezen (pictured above), Amir Huri is a beautiful, though tragic, example of a Christian Arab who took pride in his identity as an Israeli and police officer and a defender of the weak. He was in the ultra-Orthodox community of Bnei Barak when he gave his life  defending Jews from terrorists. The act of running at the shooter to block his shots was so moving to the Orthodox community that usually shuns anything not Jewish, they not only attended his Christian funeral, they are considering renaming the street of this very religious neighborhood in his honor.

  • Father, You are our Creator, and we are designed in Your very image. We have the privilege of being able to call You our Abba.
  • Your light can reach the darkest places. Only Your light pierces the darkness!
  • We pray for those who hear the calls of evil from organizations like ISIS and Hamas. They are being sold a false identity that will never fulfill them. May Your voice be louder than the voices of evil, and may Your light be brighter than the darkness. (John 1:3-5)
  • Awaken those in the Palestinian education system who have not pledged allegiance to the destruction of Israel and the dominance of Allah. Cause parents, teachers, principals, school board members, and curriculum writers to realize the damage being done in students’ lives when they perpetuate the victim mentality and incite violence in their schools.
  • Raise up leaders in the education system who have a relationship with You. Grant them favor to be placed in positions of influence and give them creative ways to bring light and truth to the education system
  • May the inhabitants of this land find their identity first in You. Everything else that is good – including Your justice – will flow from there.
  • Lord, unite Jews and Arabs in Israel and the Middle East under Your banner. Forge a special bond between Jewish and Arab ministries in Israel. Let the harmony be refreshing to non-believers and cause them to become hungry for the unity and blessing they experience when Jewish and Arab believers work together. (Psalm 133)
  • Guide the steps of those who follow You to know where to be—and not to be—when terrorists are on the prowl. May their safety be a testimony to Your goodness.
  • Expose the plans of terrorists before they even walk out their door.
  • Father, You are intimately aware of the tragic events that have taken place over the past week. You know the names of the 11 Israelis murdered by acts of terrorism. They are the apple of Your eye. Show family members who are grieving this significant loss how to turn to You with their pain and questions
  • May those suffering from anxiety or fear due to these attacks also find comfort in You. You are the only true refuge and a strong fortress for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
  • Lord, You promised to place a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor. Anyone who trusts in You will never be disgraced. Help Israel understand the calling to be Your possession, light to the nations, and walk in their identity as God’s chosen people. (1 Peter 2:6-10)
  • We won’t stop praying for peace in Jerusalem! Your prophet, Isaiah, said, “Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.” So, Lord, we commit to be watchmen on Your walls and pray for these things until You make Jerusalem the pride of the earth! (Isaiah 62:1-7)
  • Sovereign Lord, bring an end to the violence and terrorism in Israel. You are the Prince of Peace, and we need You today. We commit our lives, our future, ministry, and this country into Your hands. 
  • When other voices try to tell us who we are, may our hearts draw from the truth of Your Word to understand our identity as the King’s sons and daughters. Please help us to live in that reality. (Romans 8:15-17)
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