A New, Old Way to Pray
As watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, we’re committed to watch and pray—and report to you who do likewise. However, a dilemma exists for many of us. In case you haven’t noticed, the media conveys mostly bad news, and most believers—including watchmen—are increasingly distressed over the seemingly ever-worsening state of human affairs. To “watch” can tempt us to focus unduly on what the devil is doing. And that, we’re sure, is not what God’s called His people to do.
In these last days, watching and praying must mean keeping our eyes on what the Lord is doing. As we see the natural realm reflect the spiritual, we “look up, for our redemption is near.” (Luke 21:28) We stay in a place of love, peace and joy—even as we battle. The question is, how?
I (Sandy) am eager to share with you what has recently become for me a refreshing, practical perspective on intercession. Perhaps this perspective will serve more as a timely reminder than a total revelation. In any case, the Lord is reminding me of “ancient paths” to navigate anew as we approach His return.
First, some background: Births pains—including conflicts of good and evil—that herald Yeshua’s coming will intensify. Light and dark will increase simultaneously. The good news is that as this occurs, He wants to take us higher and deeper into the kingdom of light. From that place, He will use us for a great last days’ harvest of souls.
In intercession, there are times when you and I are called to deep repentance and supplication. We cry out for mercy. We groan in and with the Spirit. We do not let go of the hem of Yeshua’s garment, so to speak. But there are times when we’re to engage in prayer from another perspective.
The Scriptures say you and I are seated with Messiah in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Created in His image, we’re called to rule and reign under/with Him (1 Cor. 6:2-3). So we set our focus on things above (Col. 3:2, 2 Cor. 4:18). We do this in large part through praise. The Lord wants audible praise not to be a formula for prayer, but a lifestyle (Psalm 34:1). As we praise, faith rises from within. The “inner man,” seated in heavenly places, is strengthened through faith. From a place of faith, we naturally enter into deeper intimacy with our Bridegroom-King. We worship and adore Him (2 Cor. 5:7, Psalm 100:4). We love Him with all our heart, mind and strength. We are in Christ and thus one with God (see John 17:21).
As I’ve begun to re-engage in this perspective of prayer, I find myself more intently focused on heavenly places where I’m seated with Messiah. From those heavenly places, you and I exercise Messiah’s delegated authority to release blessings of the Kingdom of God. (See Matthew 28:18-19.) We can prayerfully proclaim and prophesy over matters here on earth in accordance with His Word. At one prayer meeting last week, a few of us found ourselves releasing righteousness, justice, and a host of very detailed blessings onto earthly realities unfolding in Israel. We were in a place of supernatural unity and consciously sought to be very sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. We spoke only those specific things we sensed He directed us to declare. We allowed nothing inconsistent with the Scriptures.
The prayer meeting was a rather glorious experience—though one does not intercede for the purpose of having glorious experiences. At the end of the gathering, we were spiritually refreshed and even physically invigorated. We re-entered our worldly responsibilities with peace and renewed faith in the victory of our soon coming King. We were not dismayed by the bad news still swirling around us; we’d seen that many more were for us than against us (2 Kings 6:16-17).
The news we summarize below is sobering, even disheartening, from a strictly natural point of view. We urge you, before praying for these matters, to set your sights on things above! Messiah has already won the battle. At the cross He defeated anything that would exalt itself above Him. We trust the Scriptures following each news item will facilitate His personally showing you heaven’s perspective.
This month, rather than enumerate a list of prayer points, we encourage you to receive an intercessory strategy directly from the Spirit, very personally for you. Praise and exalt Him, then in faith release blessing according to His Word. May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
Goldstone: Go Stone Israel
Richard Goldstone and the Goldstone Report
Much has been written and said in Israel and the international media about the inaccuracies, shortcomings, and moral inversions of the UN Human Rights Council’s recent Goldstone Report. This Report charges Israel with numerous war crimes, and potential crimes against humanity, committed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-09. If the Report is officially adopted, international law states the UN may or should take Israel and her individual government and military leaders to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. As we shared in last month’s newsletter, the Report presents a clear and present danger to the entire free world.
The Goldstone Report implicitly condones terror as a viable military option, while restricting sovereign nations’ rights to defend themselves against it. The UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote on the Report November 4. If the Goldstone Report is officially endorsed at this high level, and criminal sanctions applied against Israel, a spirit of global violence and lawlessness will be released and demonically fueled at whole new levels. Even if the US or other nations eventually preclude passage of the Report, its allegations have already launched an anti-Israel momentum of unprecedented proportion.
In the past month and in the wake of the Goldstone Report, Israel’s enemies have taken to charging her in different international forums of an array of concocted crimes she did not commit. Nevertheless, the global community seems willing to believe these bizarre charges as readily as Nazi sympathizers took to pre-Holocaust propaganda machine lies. One example is the condemnation of Israel by the humanitarian organization Amnesty International for allegedly denying water to the Palestinians. This censure is based on one-sided complaints and “evidence” presented by the Palestinians. Sadly, the Goldstone Report seems to have has sent a clear message: Go-Stone Israel
(For more important information on the Goldstone Report, please click here ).
Scriptures to Pray
You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an urighteous witness. (Exodus 23:1)
Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler (Jeremiah 51:46).
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? … Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:1, 10-11)
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you. … May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord–that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:4-5, 17-18)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Turkey and Last Days’ Alignment
For many years, Turkey served as Israel’s only friend in the Middle East and Muslim world. But that strategic relationship is changing. In recent weeks, Turkey reneged on some key commitments to Israel on different issues and arenas, then affirmed military ties with Syria. Simultaneously, Turkish state-sponsored TV aired a fictitious show viciously portraying Israeli soldiers torturing Palestinians. Last week, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan visited Tehran to meet with President Ahmadinejad. The latter praised Erdogan’s new position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying his “clear stance toward the Zionist regime has had a positive impact on the world of Islam.”
From Israel’s point of view, the sudden, unexplained shift in Turkish policy is alarming. This formerly moderate nation, serving 2,000 years ago as a missions base for many of the early New Testament churches, has aided the Jewish state in several critical respects. From a biblical perspective, some believe this shift represents Turkey’s alignment in the coming invasion of Gog and its allies against Israel, as prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39. In any case, Turkey’s new friendship with Iran—including its defense of the latter’s nuclear program—is disconcerting to many.
Scriptures to Pray
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. … But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. (Psalm 3:1, 3)
The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day is coming. … The wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. (Psalm 37:12, 20)
Temple Mount Tempest
In response to recent calls by Muslims leaders to assert complete control over the area, tensions and violence have been increasing on the Temple Mount. Some suspect another Intifada in the offing; in any event, the air here feels heavy with hostility. In response to renewed Islamic aggression, some rabbis are calling for an assertive and sustained Jewish presence on the holy site, with a view toward rebuilding the temple. Secular authorities still repress temple zealots, but they’ll eventually become a force to be reckoned with. The Scriptures indicate a third Jewish temple will be constructed in Jerusalem, and the ancient sacrificial system reinstated, before Yeshua returns.
Scriptures to Pray
“Yet I have set my King on My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:6)
I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. (2 Chronicles 7:16)
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brothers and companions, I will now say ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good. (Psalm 122:6-9)
Messianic Jewish Court Cases
On November 23, a court of law in Beersheba will resume trial of a case filed by Messianic Jews against ultra-Orthodox rabbis for physical assault at their congregational Shabbat service. The lawsuit was filed not to seek revenge or compensation for damages, but to open doors through legal means to the Gospel in Israel. The stakes could be high. If the believers lose the case, a judicial ruling in favor of the defendants could encourage further violence against Messianics and Christians. In previous proceedings, the judge displayed a clear bias toward the ultra-Orthodox community.
Ortiz home after bombing, floor bloodied
A suspect has been arrested in the case of the attempted murder last year of a Messianic Jewish family. You may recall the tragic event over Purim 2008, in which Israeli teenager Ami Ortiz became victim to a terrorist bombing in his home. Young Ami was severely injured and has not yet fully recovered. Because he is a follower of Yeshua, police were reluctant to pursue the case. As a result, the Ortiz family hired a private investigator. The investigator uncovered such disturbing evidence that Israeli Shin Bet forces (equivalent to the FBI) got involved. The suspect, a Jewish right-wing extremist, has confessed to the attempted terrorist murder targeting the Ortiz family based on their faith in Yeshua. Police and others are looking for ties between the suspect and known ultra-Orthodox, anti-missionary organizations. For more details, click here.
Scriptures to Pray
Now Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. (Acts 4:29-30)
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (Luke 18:7)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Thankfully, autumn rainfall in Israel has been above average. Nevertheless, authorities warn that water sources could still suffer irreversible harm from depletion as soon as next month. Without an unusually rainy winter, the country’s water reserves could be completely drained next year. Drastic measures will be undertaken, including importing water, establishing portable desalination plants, and significantly increasing water rates to finance these costly ventures. Even if winter rains this year prove substantial, the crisis cannot be averted. On the positive side, some grassroots groups are beginning to pray for rain. Please pray Israel will sincerely turn to God and cry out for both rain and the restoration of underground water sources.
Actually, the entire Middle East is suffering from severe drought. For the first time in known history, the Euphrates River is drying up. Some regard this as a prophetic sign of the last days according to Revelation 16:12.
Scriptures to Pray
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. … He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. (Isaiah 30:19, 23)
Sow to yourselves in righteousness … break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek Jehovah till He come and rain righteousness upon you (Hosea 10:12, ASV).
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills. (Deut. 8:7)
As you probably know, most Israeli men and women are drafted into the army (Israel Defense Forces or IDF) upon completion of their high school studies. What you may not know is that all female soldiers are entitled to free abortions during their military service. Sadly, illicit sex is rampant in Israel, particularly in the IDF. The free abortion policy enables pregnant soldiers to continue their military service by removing the “physical obstacle.” Concerning this, God is no doubt terribly and deeply grieved. But that is not all. His judgment is inherent in the matter.
While the IDF has been commissioned to preserve Jewish life, tragically, its abortion policy opens a door in the spiri realm to death. Now, if a door is opened to the spirit of death, that spirit has “legal entry” into the army’s affairs—and thus affects the entire nation. When Israeli soldiers murder Jews in their wombs, the enemy, in a sense, has “legal permission” to murder Jews outside the womb. The army cannot function in the full anointing of an Israeli Defense Force when it serves, at the same time, as an Israeli destruction force.
Abortion is legal throughout the country. Approximately 50,000 abortions take place each year in the Jewish state.
Scriptures to Pray
In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:27-28)
You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:13-14).
Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech…(Leviticus 18:21)
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me. (Psalm 5:8)
“‘I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:24-27)
Declaring Israel must cease to exist, Iran vigorously pursues its nuclear enrichment program despite talk of international sanctions. According to an AP article in the Jerusalem Post on November 1, President Obama is resigned to a nuclear Iran—though he still remains optimistic he’ll be able to talk Ahmadinejad out of attacking Israel.
Scriptures to Pray
I will bring back the captives of My people Israel … I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them. (Amos 9:14, 15)
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. … He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. … You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. (Psalm 18:3, 17, 39)
“As I live,” says the Lord, “every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
See also Scriptures above for the Goldstone Report and Turkey.