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The Long Road Home

Friday, January 19, 2024

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the resilience of the people of Israel and for the unity the country has experienced since October 7, 2023. Pray that the nation will continue to rally together as the war with Hamas threatens to last far into the future. Ask the Lord to silence those voices that would promote the disunity that prevailed prior to October 7. Beseech Him that President Herzog would be correct in his prediction that, “The spirit of the people of Israel will always overcome. Even this time, our spirit will prevail.”

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore.


- Psalm 133:1¬3

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Ayalon family as they deal with the death of Yuval and his 76-year-old mother. Cry out to Him for the safety of the people living in the north of Israel, as border communities are being increasingly targeted by Hezbollah. Also pray that Israel’s retaliatory actions will bring an end to Hezbollah’s attacks.

Scripture

“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”


- Deuteronomy 28:7

Prayer Focus
Pray for the safety and protection of the hostages as they remain in captivity. Cry out to the Lord that Israel’s strategies will be successful and the hostages will be quickly found or released. Also pray for their families who exist in a constant state of worry and fear for the unknown fate of their loved ones. Ask the Lord to protect every family member from the cruel psychological terror that Hamas is using in an attempt to hold them captive as surely as those who are physical hostages within Gaza.

Scripture

All who took them captive have held them fast; they have refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case, that He may give rest to the land.


- Jeremiah 50:33b–34a

Prayer Focus
Pray that these unfounded and outrageous charges against Israel will be too much for even the ICJ to bear, especially in light of the widespread international support that Israel has regarding the accusations and the actions of the court. Beseech the Lord that truth will prevail and the forthcoming rulings will favor Israel.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.”


- Psalm 3:1–4

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord that the Lebanese will take Israel’s warning seriously. Pray that Israel’s training for a war on multiple fronts will serve them well as they face increasing hostility from Hezbollah. And cry out to the Lord that Israel’s success in completely dismantling Hamas will in no way be hindered by whatever actions are necessary in the north.

Scripture

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.


- Psalm 91:7–8

Prayer Focus
Pray that leadership will be held to account and these insidious acts of anti-Semitism (read “Jew hatred”) will cease. And pray for Israel’s athletes across the spectrum of international sports who are facing such animosity on a regular basis.

Scripture

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.


- Psalm 34:19, 21–22

Prayer Focus
Although terribly difficult to watch, pray that the videos on this site do indeed “reach the world” with the unspeakable reality of what happened on October 7. Pray that it becomes apparent to many, including politicians and decision makers around the globe, why Israel is at war and what the country, and eventually the nations, will face if Hamas is not completely expunged from the world scene.

Scripture

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.


- Psalm 3:6–7

Prayer Focus
Pray for international outrage over this evidence that tens of millions of dollars sent to Gaza specifically to meet the needs of the people and provide the services and opportunities they require to live productive lives were used by Hamas to build an intricate network of tunnels under residential areas from which to launch assaults on Israel. Pray that systems will be put in place to guarantee that any future humanitarian aid sent to Gaza will not find its way into Hamas’s hands but will reach those who desperately need it.

Scripture

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.


- Psalm 82:3–4

Prayer Focus
Pray for the family of Edna Blustein as they mourn her death at the hands of terrorists and for the others, particularly the children, who were wounded. Ask the Lord for soon and complete healing of their injuries and for His presence to encourage and heal them emotionally and spiritually as well. And pray again for Israel as the nation deals with ongoing terror attacks in addition to fighting a war on two fronts.

Scripture

The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.


- Psalm 11:5–6

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord on behalf of these witnesses who were forced to see, hear and endure things that no one should have to encounter. Ask the Lord to protect and heal them as they deal with ongoing trauma and to give them courage to continue telling their stories as eyewitnesses to what happened on October 7. And pray for increasing numbers of non-Jewish voices to be raised against this horrific double standard that tells the world that rape as a weapon of war is indeed a crime against humanity—unless the victims are Jewish.

Scripture

“I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.


- Isaiah 13:11