For Zion’s Sake – July 2018

The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed.  (Genesis 12:3)  But exactly how do we do that?

There are many ways, but perhaps the most important and most rewarding way is to pray diligently for Israel. Did you know that believers from around the world join together the first Wednesday of every month to pray fervently for Israel?  Why not join the effort!  (Check out the International Christian Embassy’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative to engage more fully.)

We follow the guidance provided by ICEJ in using Isaiah 62 as our prayer guide, as we focus on one of the 12 verses each month.  This is July…and verse 7 is perhaps my favorite verse of the chapter.  That’s where we’re headed, though I want to include verse 6 with it so we don’t jump into the middle of a thought.  So, let’s go…

PRAISE:  Lord, we praise You that You receive our incessant requests and Hallelujahs, never having a quiet moment to Yourself.  Thank you that You have commanded us in this.  Amen

PROCLAIM: 
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

PONDER:  “Give Him no rest.”  This may well seem like a command for bad manners, but Jesus had this concept in mind too, when He told His disciples how they should always pray and never give up.  He told them a parable about a judge who did not care about God or people, and who muttered to himself that he would see that the persistent widow would get justice so that he would not become worn out from her incessant badgering.  Then Jesus said this: “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8).  In both testaments, we’ve been given the green light to “pester” the Lord until He fulfills His promise in making Jerusalem a “Hallelujah.”  So, again.  And, again.  And, again, we go to Him as He teaches us to do.

PRAY:  This month’s prayer points are found here.  Please remain in prayer throughout the month, as the Lord guides you through these things.

Be blessed as you gather in the throne room of the Most High God!

PS: If you are following along with the Bible study, Why Israel Matters, don’t worry…we’ll pick it back up tomorrow.  See you then!

For Zion’s Sake – June 2018

How excited I was to see the key verse (above) for this month’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative!  You see, God is indeed gathering His people from all the countries and bringing them back into their own land.  We are seeing prophecy fulfilled right before our very eyes!

But, lest you think witnessing fulfillment of prophecy is a spectator sport, let me remind you that God has invited us to be part of His grand plan!  In fact, He yearns for us to participate in what He is doing!  How do we do that?  In many ways, but the most important way is to pray!

That’s what the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative is all about!  We pray for Zion’s sake, as Isaiah 62:1 indicates, in unison with believers everywhere on the first Wednesday of every month.  Using that chapter of Scripture, we focus on one verse each month to guide us into unified prayer with believers literally around the globe!  So, please take time right now (or later today) to join the mighty host of prayer warriors lifting up Israel, the nations, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem today.

Here’s how:

PRAISE: Lord, we are Your appointed ‘rememberers.’  You have made us mindful of You, from sunrise to sunset, in seasons of darkness as well as light.  Thank You that this is so.  Amen.

PROCLAIM:
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:6-7

PONDER: Isaiah suggests here that Jerusalem is twice-walled: a literal wall of crenelated limestone protects the city, but there is another wall too, a spiritual wall that her watchmen provide.  In the ancient world, a watchman was a protector, one who “hedged about,” preserved and attended that which he guarded.  Watchmen were alert, even when the inhabitants of the city slept or went about their daily chores.  Men may have built the quarried walls to protect Jerusalem, but today, God musters watchmen from every time zone on the globe to continually, perpetually and always speak to Him, forming a holy hedge of defense around the city.  So we add our voices to this supernatural force-field with our prayers.

PRAY: Current and very specific prayer points are found here.  Use these prayer points today and throughout the month of June.  Pray on!

PS: For the really observant readers, you probably noticed that I said we use one verse of Isaiah 62 per month as a prayer focus, but quoted verses 6-7 in the “PROCLAIM” section.  That’s because the two verses happen to be my favorite…and to split them breaks up the full thought.  So, look for the same verses (but with different emphasis) next month as well!

For Zion’s Sake – May 2018

Hi friends!  Did you know there is a worldwide prayer initiative to pray for Israel and her neighbors?  In January 2016, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem launched the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative, inviting Christians from around the world to join together in praise, proclamation, pondering and prayer.

Isaiah 62 is a fantastic pattern of prayer for Israel, and it happens to have 12 verses.  The first Wednesday of every month is designated as the day of prayer and focus is given to the verse corresponding to the month.  This is May, the fifth month, so we’ll hone in on Isaiah 62:5.

NOTE: Reading the entire chapter in context is very important, so I suggest you start there, then dive into the prayer guidance below.

PRAISE: Most High God, we praise You that You rejoice in taking that which was separate, apart and alone and making it perfect, complete and delightful.  Who is like You, Lord?

PROCLAIM:
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
~Isaiah 62:5

PONDER: Think of the happiest moment in your life and you will have a good idea of how God will rejoice over Zion.  Not only will the Jewish people be “married” to Israel, but God will be married to her as well, and will rejoice over her.  Did you know the Hebrew word for bride comes from a word that means perfect and complete?  Jerusalem will be united with God in response to our unceasing prayers.  For this blessed union we earnestly lift our voices to the Eternal Bridegroom.

PRAY: ICEJ provides specific prayer points each month.  Use them to guide your prayer time.

PRAYER POINTS FOR MAY 2018

PS: There are Isaiah 62 Prayer Groups all over the world.  Why not join one!  If you are in the Phoenix area, please join us at CalvaryPHX, Room 301 this evening at 6:00.  (Directions and more info here.)

For Zion’s Sake – April 2018

Only days ago we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful celebration of the most glorious event in all of human history!  Our Lord set us free from sin when He died on the cross and resurrected three days later.  But with salvation comes obedience to live according to His will.

While we are all on our own individual paths of discovering and discerning His will for each of us, there are hundreds of specific things the Bible teaches that all of us are to do.  For example, these verses teach us to pray for Israel:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…
~Psalm 122:6

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent…
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
~Isaiah 62:1, 6-7

Thus the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has declared the first Wednesday of every month a day of prayer for Israel.  Isaiah 62 is the chapter from which we glean prayer guidance, and tomorrow is that day, so I want to lead you in a time of devotion and prayer.

PRAISE

Eternal God, we praise You.  You are able to transform desolations into delights.  The forsaken become desirable in Your hands.  Keep us mindful of this during the dry and lonely times.  Amen

PROCLAIM

It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married.”
~Isaiah 62:4

PONDER

In this verse, Zion is called by four names.  Two are negative and in the past, while two are positive and yet to come.  God promises that the people and land will undergo a transformation from “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” that is, from those who have been turned from and left astonished and devastated, to “My delight is in her” and “To be a Husband, to be Married.”  That which was destitute and ruined becomes a delight.  According to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Zion is “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).  It is for this that we pray.

PRAYER

Join with thousands around the world in these Prayer Points for April 2018.

PS: There are several ways to get involved with ICEJ’s Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative:

Blessings to you as you follow in obedience to the Lord’s command to pray for Israel!