Hundreds of Jews and Christians gathered in Jerusalem on Sunday to participate in the annual Day of Prayer for Peace. Around the world, in over 170 countries, and around 90 million Christians, joined in on the day of prayer for Israel.
The main event was held at the Haas Promenade, a spot that overlooks the city of Jerusalem, where Christian and Jewish leaders gathered to pray over the land held sacred by each of their traditions. Christian music artists Eddie James and Misty Edwards headlined the event.
The event centered around the text of Psalm 122:6, where God instructs His followers, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you.”
The first Day of Prayer for Peace took place in 2005, when evangelist Pat Robertson flew to Jerusalem to speak at the event, starting a tradition that would remain for years.
“Since that time, the first Sunday in October is now celebrated as the day of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem in 174 nations around the world,” Robert Stearns, the event’s chief organizer and founder of Eagles’ Wings Ministry, told CBN News. “Our materials have been translated into 39 languages.”
Rabbi Marc Schneier, the keynote speaker at the event, pointed out how miraculous it is that Jews and Christians can have a positive relationship despite a long history of rocky relations.
“If you look at the history of Christian-Jewish relations for close to 2,000 years, we suffered from persecution by the Christian community. Think back to the Crusades, the Inquisition, even the deafening silence of the Church while millions were murdered in the Holocaust, so we’re living in miraculous times. And one of those miracles is the reconciliation between our two faith communities and I believe that we’re also celebrating that here today,” Rabbi Schneier told CBN News.
Stearns pointed out that the relationship between the two religions has formed from a genuine trust built up over time.
“We see for the first time in 2,000 years of Church history Jews and Christians having walls of suspicion come down and genuine friendship and cooperation come between Jews and Christians – not pretending that we don’t have theological differences because we do. We’re divided regarding the identity of the Messiah, but we are united in praying and believing for the coming of the Messiah, soon and quickly in our day,” he said.
Why should Christians pray for Jerusalem?
Leaders of the event believe that there are numerous reasons why prayer for Jerusalem is necessary.
“Jerusalem is the root of our faith,” Stearns explained. “Jerusalem in a sense is the city of both our spiritual birth and of our spiritual hope. We believe that this is the city where the government of God will rule and reign over the nations and so every Christian has to take part in preparing the way of the Lord for His presence in this city.”
“Now the Jewish people believe that He asks Jews and Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is because He always wants us to take the issue of Jerusalem and keep it close to our heart,” Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, said. “He wants us to think about Jerusalem. He wants us to teach our children about Jerusalem and so we take that very seriously.”
Furthermore, Christians need to remember that Jesus himself was a Jew, and the Jewish homeland of Israel is sacred to both the Jewish and Christian faiths.
“We need to understand that we are grafted into this incredible place called Israel and Christian churches all over America, they have forgotten that,” Pastor Joe Green, the senior vice president of Eagles’ Wings Ministry, told CBN.
“What we want to do is bring awareness to who we really are,” he added. “We don’t exist without the Jewish people or the Jewish state. We’re not around. Jesus was a Jew. All the apostles were Jews and so our goal is to somehow bring us back to biblical Christianity and blessings on this incredible place. We absolutely have an honor privilege to bless,” Green added.
Michael Oren, a member of Israel’s Knesset or parliament, also emphasized that Christians should believe in the importance of standing up for the nation of Israel.
“There are a lot of international bodies who would deny the Jewish connection to this city – our common history, our common traditions – and we have to unite together…We may have different ways of expressing our faith but it’s the same thing. And it’s the same history, and anybody who would deny that there was a Jewish temple up there is denying Jesus. And that has to sink in,” Oren said.
Not only is it important for Christians to pray for Jerusalem, but it has becoming increasingly crucial for Christians to support the Jewish people in a time where they are targeted by so many of the world’s leading countries. Rabbi David Nekrutman from the Center for Jewish, Christian Understanding & Cooperation, pointed out this is a reason that Christians and Jews should come together.
“More than any other time in history, Jews and Christians need to come together because not only is the world isolating Israel on the state, even Christianity’s movements are isolating Israel on the world stage,” Rabbi Nekrutman said.
(H/T: CBN News)