Do you really want to change world history? Pray for Israel’s salvation and you will!
When did you last bring someone to Jesus? When did you last persist in prayer to the point of tears?
It all begins and ends with God. Therefore, pray!
Psalm 126 promises: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”- (vv. 5-6)
Psalm 126 prescribes what two things are necessary to see Israel saved: 1) faithful preaching (seed for sowing) and 2) faithful praying (weeping).
Note the encouraging certainty: “sow in tears” “doubtless” “shall reap in joy”
History attests God’s faithfulness on this point! For example, Paul. Or, Calvin who “came to Geneva and found the people ignorant of God’s gospel and law – their lives reflecting it in drunkenness, immorality, and blasphemy. All he used was preaching and prayer and by a miracle of God’s grace, Calvin brought the city under the loving discipline of Christ’s word, such that even to this day, his influence there remains.” (James Graveling’s sermon: “How God Wants Church and State to Relate”)
Since prayer is crucial, here are guidelines to pray effectively for Israel’s salvation:
1) Pray (until you get it) for a heart truly reflective of Paul’s spirit: I could wish I rather die without Christ than see Israel do so (Rom. 9:1-2). A heart that cries: “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!” (Psalm 14:1 – Paul cites in Rom. 11:26 to prove Israel will be saved). Such a heart furnace will enable prayers that are aflame.
2) Pray based on the gracious promises of God: a) He always keeps a remnant by grace (Rom. 11:1-10); b) He promised the Deliverer would come from Zion to save them as a whole nation and not just a remnant any longer (Rom. 11:11-26);
3) Spiritual strongholds must be taken down by prayers of repentance in order for Israel to be saved. Confess their sins like Daniel did for them (Daniel 9). Pray down God’s pardon based on the loving, cleansing blood of Jesus. They made themselves enemies of God (Rom. 11:28) by shedding Jesus innocent blood, calling it down on themselves and their generations (Matt. 27:25) and this resulted in judicial hardness, yet God’s grace is greater than our sin, so pray with Jesus that will forgive them (Luke 23:34), and that based on His covenant He will recall that they are still His elect, beloved, covenant people (Jer. 31:35-27; Romans 11:26-29) and to exalt the blood of Jesus – that nothing is greater than its power, and that the greater the sins forgiven, the greater love for the Savior God people have (Luke 7:47).
4) Add fasting to your prayers! We live in a day similar to Daniel’s when Israel had been in spiritual as well as physical captivity for a long time due to their covenant breaking. Great spiritual chains of Satan and sin were upon them and they needed deliverance and so it is in our own day (see Zechariah 13:1-3; Matthew 17:14-21). Fasting is a powerful way of breaking these chains (Isaiah 58:1-10). Daniel 9:3 records how Daniel, realizing that God’s word indicated a time for reformation for Israel, “set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” And then the Lord graciously responded, coming with great revelation as well as salvation for His people Israel!
5) If so, remind the Lord that you are a Gentile and as such consecrate yourself to the service He intended for the Gentiles. Given a place in the Olive Tree, you are meant to provoke the Jews (cut out of it for a time) to jealousy so that they might be saved through the mercy shown you. So, letting God know you are getting in line with one of His purposes in saving you, pray intensely as a Gentile for God to bless them with His salvation. Ask the Spirit of God to anoint, lead and guide your intercessions and supplications.
6) To fuel your persisting in prayer for Israel, believe what God promises in connection with Israel’s future salvation: that Israel’s salvation will mean “greater riches” for the world, yes, even spiritual “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:12, 15). Let the dying cultures (once evangelical nations) persuade you of the reality of God’s word (Rom. 11:15 -‘dead”), but as well of the certain hope of God’s spiritually resurrecting them. Fight your battles in every land, but realize such prayers for Israel are heavy artillery overarching the entire battlefield. By such prayers, you are not only praying for Israel but for all those who will come to Christ as a result of their salvation (1 John 2:2; Rom. 10:12-13). Remind God that the entire world will experience His salvation after the Jews are saved, resulting in the hallowing of His Name, coming of His kingdom, doing of His will on earth as in heaven- this excites the Almighty to action for it is His revealed purpose.
7) Pray against the devil’s purposes (using imprecatory prayers too) and works in trying to wreak havoc to God’s plans for Israel in so many ways, including by stopping you and others from praying for Israel’s salvation. How important are such prayers for Israel? Consider how seriously the men of God who wrote the Westminster Larger Catechism considered it to the future benefit of God’s kingdom: “Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition? A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, * the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; ….” By such prayer you hasten the full manifestation of Christ’s kingdom on earth!
8) Pray in faith. Matthew 17:20: “if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Israel’s salvation as a nation seems utterly impossible! But prayers of intense faith are powerful, moving the God of the impossible to do the impossible. “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Spurgeon (paraphrased): “ask great things of your big God. Had he made 10,000 worlds, it would not be too much for Him to save them all. This is but one.” How can we doubt the happy outcomes of our prayers given I John 5:14-15 and Romans 11?
9) Pray for concrete, specific persons and events to move God’s salvation among the Jews forward, and then look for (Habk. 2:1) and record the answers. Pray for God to bless “God Bless Israel Ministries” – that we might be mightily Spirit-anointed and He might prove Himself “mighty to save”. Pray for us to be wholly His, to have His Spirit flowing through us (John 7:37-39). “You have not because you ask not”. So ask- for a lot!- : for a hearings and God centered debates with Jews, for soft hearts, for conviction, for feeling the need for the Savior, for an ABUNDANCE of fruit! PLEASE!- “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak…Christ” among the Jews “that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Col. 4:2-4) Ask God to cause His church to realize its ministry of discipling the nations must follow His way: “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16). Pray for the gospel to go forth in compassion, boldness, and the Spirit’s power. Pray for providential circumstances for Jesus to be exalted in the Middle East. Ask God to prepare the hearts of the Jews to welcome back His Son to their nation (Matt. 23:39), and that God replaces hearts of stone with hearts of flesh (Ezek. 36). Pray God exposes the emptiness of Judaism, Islam, the new age, Zionism (land without Lord = 0) and worldliness to Jews. Pray for God’s prophetic purposes to be fulfilled, for the lost sheep of the house of Israel to be reunited with their Shepherd. Pray: “Your Name be honored Father! Through Your kingdom’s coming, Lord, through Your will being done on earth as it is in heaven!”
10) Thank God for His faithfulness in past, present and future! “Continue earnestly in prayer… with thanksgiving (Col. 4:2) Be glad for what He will do! Look at Him not as the stingy One, but as the overflowing fountain of goodness (John 3:16)! Praise Him for preserving His ancient people (Jer 30:11), and for overflowing with mercy in bringing them back to their land, and pray God’s goodness in this will lead them to repentance towards Christ (Rom. 2:4; Acts 26:18).
11) Plant the seeds in evangelism and witnessing as well. Prayer without work denies man’s duties as God’s instrument. Work without prayer denies God’s sovereignty as though man is in control. The two are perfectly suited for one another, the one driving the other repeatedly- for this is a work of God and through man. If you know Christ as Savior, you know what it means to be free from the burden of sin, from the fear of death and hell. Can you be insensitive toward the Jews from whom Salvation came (John 4:12) when they have never received God’s pardon and who experienced God’s condemnation apart from Jesus? Get active! Go and sow, do so to reap, and reap to rejoice in the Lord and see the whole world doing so one day!
12) Get your congregation to pray! There is great power when God’s people come together to pray for this (Matt. 18:19). Give your pastor a copy of this. Invite others to pray where you have “prayer meetings.” Charles Spurgeon accounted his great power in preaching to those praying for him: “The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be a slothfulness in prayer.”
13) Be humble! I Corinthians 3 proclaims that ‘neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” If your motive is pride, God resists you. We are nothing, God is everything! Hallelujah that He should use such former hell deserving wretches, now heaven inheriting new creations with Him to extend His glorious kingdom all over the earth!
14) Commission and then provide (financially) for those God especially calls to give themselves to prayer and the Word for the Jews. Acts 6 shows ministers especially are called to this, and the rest of the Body of Christ is to enable them to this important work by freeing them from avocations by necessary support as well as commissioning. Spurgeon preached: “every minister…. ought to be[an] example of wrestling prayer.” “Oh, if that could be our portion! If we could but have full space for prayer and meditation, and were set free from the petty secularities and differences incident to church life.” “By your power in prayer God’s power will be set in motion, and by that force all will be accomplished which shall be for His Glory and for our good.”
15) Persist. Refuse to “take your rest” from such prayers. Give no sleep to your prayers til you find the LORD indwelling the Jews by His Spirit and physical Jerusalem at peace with God through the Prince of peace (Ps. 122:6; 132:4-5). God’s Spirit commands: “give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isa. 62:7; cf. Matt 23:38-39) Father, make Jerusalem a city that is a trophy in the hand of Jesus, that brings praise to You from the entire earth! Learn from Psalm 126: when and why would a farmer sow in tears? When it’s his calling, yet arduous, painful work. So it is among the Jews. It’s time to plant, but there are rocks (anti-semitism from ”Christians”) and stumps (hard hearts), saltiness (multi-generational curses and prejudice against Y’shua) to be removed, and hearts to be won with love. Then there are few workers (pray the Lord of harvest to send us and others forth and to enable us!). If we would rejoice in Israel’s salvation, we must first reap, and before that we must sow with tears. We cannot allow the difficulties of it to keep us from doing what God has called us to. Through patience we till the soil, plant the seeds, water them and seek to disciple as we wait months for the harvest to come. Years for nation to become Christ’s disciples. As we work among the Jews, we must not, because of a lack of immediate results, become discouraged, or worse, quit evangelizing. If we wait on God and work according to His promises, we will DOUBTLESS experience the answers to our fervent prayers – we shall see God’s kingdom come and “earth and heaven be one”, yes, glory to God, we shall have a hand in the Master’s grand garden of redemption- “we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves.”
16) Pray with importunity and with tears. Until you taste the salt in your own tears. Supplicate (look up the meaning) with intense anguish, earnestness, as though your life depends on it (theirs does), as though your soul hung on it (theirs does). With Jacob, lay hold of God and say: “I will not let You go until you bless me (Israel)!” Why do we not see more fruit among Jews? 1) God’s sovereignty. He has elected some, but most are hardened in response to their response to Christ; but God is using you as a means to bring to daylight the day when all Israel shall be saved as He ordained. 2) Our duty: we have not because we ask not, and then we ask not with the heart intensity God is pleased with and we need. John R. Rice: “A soul worth Christ’s dying for is worth any man’s weeping for!” Are the Jews worth weeping for? Today we need no more mamby pamby prayers, we need to enlist intercessors like Knox who cried to God: “Give me Scotland or I perish!” If you mean it, put whole yourself into it- be exhausted yet exhilarated when you leave your closet. Give significant time to it. Be humbled and distraught – can you think of the Holocaust and not weep (Jer. 13:17; Luke 21:41-42) ? How about their future holocaust in hell if we do not win them? Proverbs says “he who wins souls is wise.” How did Paul who won many souls do so? With tears before God while praying and with tears before humans while preaching (Acts 20) even from house to house urging people with the gospel to repent to God and put faith in Christ and “always” “with many tears”. How many tears have you cried in prayer or preaching/witnessing? James 5 exhorts us: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b) Jesus pictures that: “in the days of His flesh…offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save” (Hebrews 7:7) TEARS are critical…In response to Jesus substitute death for us, we sing: “dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears”. Let that also be translated into wrestling with God in prayer for Israel, crying tears for their salvation. Spurgeon exhorts us to pray and cry out to God with intensity: “We declare that among the most potent means in all the world is prayer; and this must not be neglected.” “Let us try the power of agonizing prayer! Do we know as yet what it means? Let us rise as one man and cry, ‘O except thou give us thine own blessing…'””Will you not at once cry unto God… prayer with force, with energy, with humble boldness, with intensity of desire, with awful earnestness; prayer which, like a deep, hidden torrent, cuts a channel even through a rock. His request was ‘that ye wrestle with me in your prayers to God for me‘; and this is our request this day.”
On your deathbed, will you then regret not having spent more time in prayer today, shed more tears, brought more praise, more Scriptural arguments, more Spirit anointed intercessions to shake heaven and earth?