Horror in the Holy Land: How to Pray for Israel - Radical

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Horror in the Holy Land: How to Pray for Israel

A Jewish holiday in Israel turned into a sudden nightmare on Oct. 7, when the Islamist terror group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, firing thousands of missiles into the country from their base in the Gaza Strip, and invading towns in southern Israel.

Families frantically tried to barricade their doors, as militants gunned down Israelis in their homes and in the streets. Tragic stories piled up: One family said gunmen killed their grandmother in her home and posted pictures of her body on her Facebook page.

After militants opened fire on an outdoor music festival in southern Israel, authorities found at least 250 bodies on site. A video on social media showed gunmen kidnapping a young woman and driving away on a motorcycle.

Israeli authorities reported Hamas had kidnapped more than 100 Israelis and taken them back into Gaza. A Hamas spokesman threatened to execute hostages if Israel hit civilian targets in the Gaza Strip.

One journalist called the attack “the most deadly killing of Jews since the Holocaust.” Israelis are already calling it their 9/11.

The death toll was rising, but authorities said at least hundreds of people were dead in Israel, and thousands more were injured.

For a country of just 9 million people, nearly a thousand Israelis killed in a couple of days represents a massive amount of death in such a short period. One journalist called the attack “the most deadly killing of Jews since the Holocaust.” Israelis are already calling it their 9/11.

A Long Conflict

Many around the world are asking: Why?

War isn’t new to this region—there’s a long and complicated history of conflict over land and territory in this part of the world. Decades of international efforts to broker a solution have failed, and the obstacles are formidable: Hamas has declared that Israel doesn’t even have a right to exist.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and Hamas has controlled that territory since 2007. But conflict has continued and living conditions for civilians in Gaza have remained difficult in the densely packed strip of 2 million people.

Since the Hamas attack, Israel has struck back with its own missiles, and hundreds of people have died in Gaza as well. Israeli officials said they were preparing for a siege of Gaza, and many in the region braced themselves for a potentially long and brutal war.

A Lone Hope

Meanwhile, many people prayed.

In the capital city of Jerusalem, Christians gathered for their weekly Sunday service at Christ Church. Though Christians make up less than two percent of the population in Israel, Christ Church is the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East.

A group of believers founded the congregation in 1849, with a desire to share the gospel of Christ. Today, the church describes itself as an evangelical Anglican congregation. It’s comprised of outsiders living and working in Israel, “along with local believers, both Jews and Arabs.”

In the days after the Hamas attack on Israel, the church posted a few ways Christians could pray in the wake of the violence:

  • Pray for those who’ve been injured by rocket fire or terrorist gunfire.
  • Pray for all those who have been kidnapped.
  • Pray the Lord will give wisdom to officials in Israel deciding how to respond.

The church also asked for prayer for the residents of Gaza. They said that through their online Arabic ministry they’ve been hearing from people scared and equally frightened for their own lives.

Ultimately, the peace this region needs most is the same peace that people need in every part of the world, the peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace.

Other churches around the world added their own pleas: Prayer for families who are grieving loss. Prayer for protection against more loss of life. And prayers for peace.

Ultimately, the peace this region needs most is the same peace that people need in every part of the world. It’s the peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace, who was born in Bethlehem to bring peace with God for people from every nation who cry out to Him.

So let’s cry out to God—for His kingdom to come, and for His gospel to continue to bring the best of news to the hardest places.

Jamie Dean is the Lead Writer for Radical. She has 20 years of experience in journalism and on-the-ground reporting.

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