Those of us who love Israel and care about both its past and its future are deeply concerned about current events in Gaza. These can only serve to increase tension in the region, as well as to inflame hatred in Israel's enemies and misunderstanding amongst her allies. The outrageous over-reaction in the name of self-defence appears ludicrous to onlookers. If the British government had reacted in a similar way during the struggles in Northern Ireland we would have seen the RAF bombing and killing civilians in Londonderry and parts of Belfast. The provocation of Israel is clear - their reaction is way ahead of what seems to be fair or reasonable force.
Yet, every story has at least two sides. There may well be Palestinian connivance in what is going on as the Hamas group in Gaza is the sworn enemy of the Fatah faction operating in the West Bank. Maybe some old scores are being settled within the Palestinian camp. Others are saying that the Israelis are trying to make up for their defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon a while back by attacking their smaller brother, Hamas, now.
Whatever the political wheeler-dealing that is going on, men women and children are dying now in Gaza, swept aside by a gigantic hand of hatred, violence and counter-force. How should we pray? Here are some suggestions you might like to add to your list:
- Pray for believers in Jesus on both sides of this appalling conflict that they may be true to their faith whilst not denying their cultural identity.
- Pray for the innocents in Gaza and Israel who fear for their lives now.
- Pray for the international aid agencies trying to bring help to the beleagured people of Gaza under this infernal pounding.
- Pray for recent developments bringing reconciliation and understanding between Arab Christians and Messianic Jews which are being jeopardised by the bombardments.
- Pray for the church in Israel and in Gaza.
- Pray for the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian community - both secular but heavily influenced by their religious backgrounds.
- Pray for peace.
'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.' Isaiah 9:6-7.