Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why you need to pray for Jerusalem

Psalm 122:8 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you."

For the past couple of days we have been drawing the connection that the Bible makes between prayer and prophecy.  Today we want to consider another prophetic truth that intersects with prayer - God's promise to never forsake Israel. 

God's promise to not forsake Israel
When the Psalmist here is telling us to pray for Jerusalem, He is echoing the promises of God pertaining to the nation of Israel as He originally spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.  Over the history of His dealings with her, even though she had forsook Him many times, God's word has always stood firm concerning her.  In fact Romans 11:25-26 plainly states: "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”

Why the promise to Israel is relevant to the Christian
To know that God never breaks His promises is one of the most fundamental cornerstones in prayer, since by God's promises we proceed to pray and live for Christ.  Israel is the objective demonstration of just how faithful God is to His word. 

How one man demonstrated the importance of Jerusalem in his prayer life
In Daniel 6 we read of Daniel being thrown into a lion's den as a result of refusing to compromise His worship of the Lord in the face of a king's decree of death.  The Bible tells us that when the decree was issued that all subjects worship Darius the King - Daniel refused.  Instead when he found out the contents of the decree, the Bible says in Daniel 6:10 - "Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously."

How Praying towards Jerusalem kept Daniel focused in the hard times
Daniel never stopped believing God's promise to restore His people.  Though not having been in Jerusalem for nearly 70 years, Daniel, praying in Babylon hundreds of miles away, had prayed this way for the entirety of his captivity in that land.  The center of Daniel's universe was the God of Scripture, whose affection was set upon God's people in Jerusalem. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).  When King Solomon had dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem 400 years before Daniel's day, the prayer was that it and the city would be the focal point in the prayer-lives of God's people. (1 Kings 8:30)  No doubt Daniel had scriptures like these rolling through his heart as he prayed.  His prayer life centered around the promises of God to His people.  Within his book we see prayer and prophecy intertwined like a strong rope of faith.  

Practical ways and benefits of praying for Jerusalem
When I make it a point to pray for Jerusalem, I try to do it in the midst of my morning routine.  Even if something that I'm doing is not remotely connected to Jerusalem, I try to pray anyway for their welfare and restoration.  Why?  Because it reminds me that the horizon of my hope lies not in how well life here on earth is going but rather in God's unbreakable promises.  Everytime I have breathed a short prayer for Jerusalem, I always find myself being able to see my hope in Christ being made clearer.  Praying for a people who by and large does not even acknowledge Jesus as Messiah also instills in me the need to share Him with others. Then as a final thought, praying for Jerusalem opens the way for blessing, since through it I am aligning my heart with God's heart.