Thursday, May 17, 2007


Please pray for the 20,000 residents of the southern Israeli border town of Sderot that borders the Gaza Strip.....13 rockets have been fired so far today....20 rockets were fired at the town on Wednesday by radical Islamic jihadists.....more than 30 rockets have rained down since Sunday, wounding six civilians, including a 44-year old mother and her young son....since 2001, more than 4,500 Kassam rockets have been fired at Sderot.
The AP now reports: "Schools shut down and residents huddled in bomb shelters as another barrage of rockets came crashing down on this terrified border town, threatening to provoke an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza 20 months after Israeli troops withdrew from the coastal strip. 'The anxiety level with the kids is unimaginable,' said Tami Sagie, the head of psychological services in Sderot. 'We have a whole generation that was born into the Qassams, children whose first word is boom.' Sagie spoke of teenagers wetting their beds in the middle of the night when rockets hit. Others regularly sleep with their parents, or find it difficult to concentrate, she said. It's not just the children. Noam Amram, 62, said he has been seeing a therapist since a rocket landed next to him four months ago. 'I still haven't gotten over it. Every noise I hear, I shudder. I can't sleep. I live in fear,' he said."
At the same time, a virtual civil war is underway in Gaza and Hamas and Fatah forces battle violently for control....Today the Israeli Air Force attacked Hamas headquarters in Gaza City....this could once again erupt as a major battle between Israel and the Palestinians...."A poll conducted last week by the Maagar Mohot institute found that 87 percent of Sderot residents favor a harsh retaliation, and that 47 percent were considering leaving," reported AP.
Please pray:
1) For peace and tranquility in the entire region
2) For courage for the families of Sderot
3) For wisdom for Prime Minister Olmert and his military and political advisors to know the best course of action
4) For Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to take decisive and immediate action to stop these terrorist attacks
5) For wisdom for Israeli and Palestinian followers of Jesus as they seek to love their neighbors and their enemies in this difficult hour
6) For Joshua Fund leaders as we explore ways to provide humanitarian relief to those who are suffering on both sides.
Someone has posted an interesting question on my other blog: "With the constant fighting and turmoil in the Middle East, I am confused as to how I am to pray. How am I to deal with the frustration of this situation that seems to never change?"
It's a good question, especially right now. There are a number of ways to answer it, but here's one: Psalm 122:6 commands us to "pray for the people of Jerusalem." Yet in many other Scriptures, the Lord tells His people to go to war.
I believe as followers of Jesus Christ we must pray for peace and prepare for war.
Thus, I pray that the jihadists in Gaza are caught, arrested and imprisoned, or hunted down by the Palestinian or Israeli authorities and brought to justice. I also pray that these jihadists meet Jesus. I pray they find peace with God through faith in Christ's death and resurrection. And I pray they are spiritually transformed as so many other Muslims in the Middle East have been in recent years (see Chapter 14 of Epicenter, "Muslims Turn To Christ In Record Numbers").
At the same time, I realize that the Lord may answer my prayers for earthly peace with a "no." In His own sovereignty, He may allow violence to continue and even allow war to ensue. We know believers will be praying for peace in the lead up to the "War of Gog and Magog," but the answer will be no (until God's supernatural intervention is complete). We also know that believers will be praying for peace right up to the Battle of Armageddon, but again the answer will be "no" until after the Second Coming of Jesus.
Thus, as Christ's followers, while we pray for peace, we must also prepare for war. That's not a lack of faith. That's being a good stewardship of our time and resources as we recognize that the Lord is in control and ready ourselves to follow wherever He leads, in good times and bad.
For The Joshua Fund, "praying for peace but preparing for war" means doing everything we possibly can to get shipments of humanitarian relief supplies into the region before the next geopolitical or prophetic war. It also means doing everything we can to build alliances and "pipelines" to bring even more relief supplies into the region during and after the next war.