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A Year of Crisis

Friday, October 14, 2022

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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.

Tensions Mounting in Judea and Samaria as Slain Soldier Laid to Rest

by Kate Norman

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Overlooking the city of Nablus, a location that has often been a hotbed of violence against Israel.

Thursday, 13 October 2022 | The parents of a 21-year-old soldier who was killed in a terror shooting on Tuesday laid their son to rest yesterday, as Israeli security forces and Palestinians clashed across Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Ido Baruch, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier, was killed in a drive-by shooting near the Jewish community of Shavei Shomron in Samaria, slightly west of Nablus (Shechem).

His parents, girlfriend, family, friends, fellow soldiers and hundreds of other people mourned him yesterday.

The terrorist who shot Baruch sped away toward the nearby Palestinian town of Deir Sharaf and is still on the run from Israeli security forces.

Ynetnews posted a video taken of Baruch and another soldier wishing “Chag sameach (happy holiday)” in honor of the Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) holiday, filmed just a few hours before he was murdered.

But the holiday cheer was cut short.

“Today, a holiday turned into a day of sadness and pain,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. The prime minister sent condolences to the fallen soldier’s family and fellow soldiers and vowed: “We will not stop until these murderers are caught.”

In response to the attack, the IDF placed a road closure on Nablus, a flashpoint of violence, with just a few roads left open “where a strict security check will be carried out,” the military announced.

The entrances to several nearby villages were also blocked with dirt mounds, and surrounding checkpoints were closed.

A terror group calling itself “Lion’s Den” claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Lion’s Den, based in Nablus, is a new group formed in response to the IDF’s Operation Break the Wave, which the military launched last spring following a terror wave that saw 19 people killed across Israel in six separate terror attacks. The operation consists of near-nightly counterterror arrest raids, particularly in Nablus and Jenin.

Following the murder of Baruch on Tuesday, the IDF ramped up its counterterror raids even further, arresting 10 wanted Palestinians across Judea and Samaria yesterday.

Baruch’s death came just days after the deadly shooting of another Israeli soldier. On Saturday night, 18-year-old Border Police Officer Noa Lazar was shot and killed in a terror attack at the Shuafat checkpoint near Jerusalem. A security guard was also seriously injured in the shooting and is in serious condition.

Israeli security forces identified the terror suspect as Udai Tamimi and said that he fled into the Shuafat refugee camp in eastern Jerusalem after committing the attack.

While the manhunt continues, the IDF has placed Shuafat under closure since the Saturday night attack.

The Lion’s Den terrorist group called for the Palestinian people to go on strike in protest of the closure, and many obeyed. Arab shops across Jerusalem and especially in the Old City remained closed yesterday.

Tensions are mounting, as the IDF continues its counterterror measures to ensure the safety of the Israeli people and prevent any further attacks against its security forces. Hamas, Lion’s Den and other terror groups are calling for blood in response.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 13, 2022)

Photo Credit: NaturalSoundsYEAH!/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the friends and family of Ido Baruch. Ask the Lord to be their comfort as they deal with the loss of their loved one. Also cry out to Him for the capture of those who are responsible for his death. Pray that Israel’s Operation Break the Wave will have the desired result.

Scripture

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.


- Proverbs 18:10

Israeli Government Approves Lebanon Maritime Border Deal

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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National Security Council Chief Eyal Hulata

Thursday, 13 October 2022 | The government on Wednesday, approved the principles of the Lebanon maritime border agreement in a majority vote, and was presented to the Knesset [Parliament] where it could be reviewed by legislators during the next two weeks before returning to the government for a final vote.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, ministers agreed on the importance of the deal with Lebanon, its benefit to national security.

The government was briefed by experts who presented the main principles of the new deal and its potential for stabilizing the region.

The agreement will later be presented to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

This [approval and majority vote in favor] was after negotiators from the two countries on Tuesday said Lebanon and Israel received a final draft of a mediated maritime border deal from US envoy Amos Hochstein and it “satisfied” all of their requirements.

National Security Council chief Eyal Hulata said in a briefing that Lebanon did not receive 100% of its demands.

“Lebanon’s interests were not entirely opposed to those of Israel,” Hulata said. “They wanted all of the Qana field but were denied.

“The deal goes against Iran’s interest in Lebanon and weakens Hezbollah’s hold on the government in Beirut. In Israel’s perspective, this was a catalyst to making the deal,” he said adding that it will bolster regional security and prevent conflict with Lebanon.

Hulata noted that for the first time, Israel’s territorial borders will be recognized by Lebanon and the US, after decades of efforts.  Lebanon will submit to the UN a paper stating it has no more maritime border demands from Israel, he said “This is an important achievement. Lebanon is an enemy of Israel and we have many disputes still unresolved,” he said.

“The agreement will bring a strategic regional stability which will allow Israel to produce natural gas without interruption,” he said.

“By adding their consent, Hezbollah—motivated by their own political and economic considerations—has shifted from its previous policy to prevent the Beirut government from reaching any agreement with Israel,” he said.

Hulata said Israel was looking forward to the signing of the agreement that will be in the presence of all partners to the deal, on the Israel Lebanon border at Naqoura, when both countries complete their approval processes.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on October 12, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikmedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the final approval to be given for the Lebanon maritime border agreement. Pray that the arrangement will bring strategic regional stability as anticipated and pray that the deal will be of great benefit to both Israel and Lebanon while encouraging Hezbollah to refrain from interfering.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

Once-in-seven-years ‘Hakhel’ Celebration Held at Western Wall

by JNS

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The Hakhel celebration at the Western Wall

Thursday, 13 October 2022 | A once-in-seven-years “Hakhel” event was held at the Western Wall on Wednesday evening with music and the participation of Israeli public figures such as President Isaac Herzog, chief rabbis past and present, and other prominent leaders.

Hakhel refers to the communal ceremony coinciding with Israeli farmers’ return to work after the conclusion of the “Shemitah” sabbatical year in a seven-year cycle. Only when all Jews are physically present in Israel is the biblical mitzvah [good deed] of Hakhel in force.

In modern times, Jews follow the ancient tradition by assembling to promote Jewish unity and Torah [Gen.–Deut.] observance.

The root of the tradition comes from Deuteronomy 31:10-12, which states, “At the end of every seven years, at an appointed time, in the Festival of Sukkot [following] the year of Shemitah. When all Israel comes to appear before the Lord, your God, in the place He will choose, you shall read this Torah before all Israel, in their ears. Assemble the people: the men, the women, the children.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 12, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: screenshot/The Western Wall/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the Hakhel celebration and for all of the feast days that are part of Israel’s annual festival cycle. Pray that Israel will be an example to many other countries as a nation that corporately expresses love and loyalty to the God of the universe,

Scripture

“The nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”


- Ezekiel 36:23b

IAEA: Iran Rapidly Expanding Ability to Enrich Uranium

by JNS

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Uranium enrichment centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility

Wednesday, 12 October 2022 | Iran is rapidly expanding its ability to enrich uranium using advanced centrifuges at its underground enrichment hall in Natanz.

Tehran intends to go further with its uranium enrichment program than it had previously planned, according to a confidential report from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] seen by Reuters.

As indirect talks between Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have stalled, the Islamic Republic has begun to deploy a growing number of advanced centrifuges that the accord forbids it from using to produce enriched uranium, said Reuters, citing the classified report from the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

The machines are far more efficient than the first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, which the deal allows Iran to use to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium. Iran has been constructing the advanced centrifuges, especially at two underground sites in Natanz and Fordow, which are designed to withstand aerial bombardment, according to the report.

The IAEA has recently warned its member-states that the third of three cascades or clusters of advanced IR-6 centrifuges recently installed at the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz has come online. According to diplomats, the IR-6 is Iran’s most advanced centrifuge.

Iran completed the installation of seven cascades that were either incomplete or in an early stage of installation on August 31, the report added. The last inspection visit mentioned in the IAEA’s most recent quarterly report occurred on September 6.

The seven cascades, each made up of one IR-4 centrifuge and six IR-2m machines, were fully installed but not yet enriching uranium, according to the report.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 11, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tehran Times/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for an end to Iran’s nuclear program. Pray that the nations will present a united front against Tehran’s blatant disregard for past agreements and will determine to take whatever action is necessary to stop Iran’s progress before it is too late.

Scripture

Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.


- Proverbs 3:25–26

Palestinians Host Terror Training Camps for Children

by Nan Jacques Zilberdik ~ Palestinian Media Watch

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Palestinian children attend camps where they are taught the ideals of terror against Israel and becoming martyrs (illustrative).

Tuesday, 11 October 2022 | In recent months, many young Palestinians have died as “martyrs” while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis, be it throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks, stabbings or shootings. What is it that make kids want this? The answer is what Palestinian Media Watch [PMW] has pointed out for years: that the PA [Palestinian Authority] and its leading party Fatah [leading Palestinian secular political party]—both led by [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas—as policy encourage children (and adults) to carry out terror and seek “martyrdom,” thereby becoming heroes.

Now that the summer holiday is over, it is important to examine the values the PA and Fatah decided to bestow on Palestinian children via their summer camps, one of the “tools” the PA uses to inculcate the ideals of terror against Israel and for martyrdom.

One distinctive PA message was that terrorist murderers are heroes. Being presented with this strong role modeling for decades has an impact on children, and many young Palestinians set out to die as martyrs, seeking to earn the ultimate glory in Palestinian society.

Announcing the opening of the summer camps, PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Head Jibril Rajoub explained that 42,000 young Palestinians were to participate in 600 camps. Rajoub stated that, “The goal of these camps is to serve as a melting pot and formulate the consciousness of these children according to the Palestinian national ideology.”

Rajoub also strongly hinted at the content of the teachings in the PA/Fatah summer camps when he in his opening speech singled out terrorist murderer Thaer Hammad who killed 10 Israelis as “deserving of blessings,” “[Silwad] is the town of Thaer Hammad (a terrorist who murdered 10), who deserves blessings, and who constituted a milestone in proactive national action. Blessings to him, his family and our prisoners from Silwad and from throughout the homeland.”

Prior to Rajoub’s opening of the camps, a Fatah “registration announcement” for participation in a camp under Fatah’s military unit Al-Asifa explained the camp activities, which clearly sound like military training. Among them are: “military order and discipline, infantry, combat skills and shooting live ammunition at a shooting range.”

During the summer, PMW already exposed some alarming examples of teachings in summer camps, for example the recruiting and training of hundreds of potential child terrorists who all posed for photographs holding weapons.

Similarly, PMW exposed that the PA Security Forces give “military training” to seven-year-old kids to fight Israel.

In several videos posted on Facebook over the summer, Abbas’s Fatah Movement took pride in the military drills and training in which very young kids participated.

One of the teenage boys participating in Fatah’s summer camp in Nablus wore a shirt with an M-16 assault rifle print on it. PMW reported that this print became popular as a show of support for the murder of Israelis immediately after Palestinian terrorist Diya Hamarsheh murdered five people in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv and was shown on TV and social media shooting at Israeli victims with his M-16 rifle.

Another boy in a different camp wore a similar t-shirt with an M-16 assault rifle print on it.

In another video of children undergoing military training in a summer camp, Fatah added a song that included the words: “If you feel death approaching, make sure it won’t be a normal death,” implying that a martyrdom death is the desired way to die, even for children.

A glimpse into a drama class in one of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps held in Jerusalem showed kids playing martyred rock throwers shot by Israeli soldiers.

Similarly, child participants in PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps in the Rafiah and central Gaza Strip districts staged scenes of children dying as martyrs, killed by Israeli soldiers.

An image shows boys holding toy guns, playing Israeli soldiers, as they stand near a girl lying on the ground who is playing the role of a martyr they have shot.

This year’s summer camp theme was “Jerusalem and the Prisoners.” Who are “the prisoners?” For the most part, they are Palestinians convicted of terror offenses. They include murderers such as bomb makers, failed suicide bombers, shooters, stabbers as well as overall planners of terror attacks designed to target and kill Israeli civilians.

Among the activities for participants in the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports summer camps was arranging parts of pictures of terrorists murderers in a puzzle. One of the pictures was of Fatah terror leader and prisoner Zakariya Zubeidi, who oversaw numerous lethal attacks, and another was of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal attack against Israel in which 37 Israelis were murdered, 12 of them children.

In another camp, kids planted roses for the six terrorist murderers.

As part of a Fatah summer camp program, children in Hebron participated in a demonstration for terrorist prisoners, among them child terrorist Ahmad Manasrah who stabbed and critically wounded a 13-year-old Israeli boy.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by the Palestinian Media Watch on October 6, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: user:Tarek/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will protect these children from the outrageous negative influences of those who should have their best interests at heart. Beseech Him for an international outcry against what clearly amounts to child abuse, and pray that the nations will use whatever leverage they have to bring an end to this government-sponsored indoctrination in hatred.

Scripture

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.


- Luke 17:2 ESV

Israel Lambastes Russian ‘Attack on Civilians’ in Ukraine

by Ilse Strauss

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Russian missiles struck Kyiv (illustrative)

Tuesday, 11 October 2022 | Israel yesterday broke with its stance of impartiality regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine when Prime Minister Yair Lapid lambasted Moscow for unleashing a deadly barrage of strikes across Ukraine, targeting civilians and killing at least 11 people and wounding 64.

“I strongly condemn the Russian attacks on the civilian population in Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine,” Lapid tweeted. “I send our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and the Ukrainian people.”

This is the first time an Israeli prime minister has denounced Russian actions in Ukraine so explicitly. Since the start of the war on February 24, Lapid’s predecessor, then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, made every effort to avoid taking sides, toeing a diplomatic tightrope between the two warring nations. His efforts were in part aimed at taking on the role of mediator between Moscow and Kyiv. Jerusalem is also concerned about the fate of the more than 150,000 Jews in Russia. However, the deciding factor was the need for Israel to maintain the freedom to act in Syrian airspace against archenemy Iran and its terror proxies. And the decision whether Israel retains or forfeits that freedom lies with Russia, who holds sway in the Syrian skies.

Lapid has been more outspoken, criticizing the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and March. However, that was when he still served as foreign minister. Yesterday’s censure was thus his first in the capacity of prime minister.

Yesterday morning’s attack—the biggest wave of strikes across Ukraine and the most widespread since the start of the war—had Kyiv in its crosshairs first. The strike was planned meticulously, timed to rain down death during rush hour, when thousands of people would line the streets of the capital en route to work or school.

That was, however, merely the opening volley. Over the next few hours, Russian forces fired more than 80 missiles on cities across the country, according to the Ukrainian military. Moscow reportedly also used Iranian drones launched from neighboring Belarus.

The attack comes in apparent retaliation for a truck bomb on Saturday that caused widespread damage to Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to the territory it annexed in Crimea and serves as a lifeline for its faltering war efforts in Ukraine. Moscow blamed Kyiv for the blast, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling the explosion “a terrorist act” orchestrated by Ukrainian special forces.

Ukraine dismissed Putin’s charge, slamming it as “too cynical even for Russia.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 11, 2022)

Photo Credit: Dpsu.gov.ua/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the people of Ukraine as they are forced to live under the constant threat of injury and death from Russian rockets. Pray also that Prime Minister Lapid will have great wisdom in his responses, particularly as thousands of Russian Jews await aliyah.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

German Extremist ‘Dances’ on Holocaust Memorial

by JNS

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AfD politician Holger Winterstein on one of the 2,711 stone slabs at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Thursday, 13 October 2022 | A photo uploaded on social media shows far-right politician Holger Winterstein posing with his arms spread on one of the stone slabs that make up Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial for the more than six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their helpers.

The photograph was taken following a protest organized by Winterstein’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Saturday.

AfD said it would take action against Winterstein, a county representative in Thuringia state, for his “extremely disrespectful behavior.”

The Israeli ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, condemned Winterstein for appearing to dance on the country’s Holocaust Memorial, whose full name is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

The politician “brought shame upon himself and his party,” the ambassador said in a tweet.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 12, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the actions taken by AfD against Holger Winterstein will be successful in censoring him for his callous and disrespectful behavior. Ask the Lord to move in Winterstein’s life, creating a true change of heart and causing him to sincerely repent for his vulgar and offensive actions.

Scripture

For this is what the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.”


- Isaiah 30:15a NASB

Thousands Flock to the Western Wall for Priestly Blessing

by Ilse Strauss

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The priestly blessing is recited at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Wednesday, 12 October 2022 | The tradition is ancient, based on the instructions the Almighty gave to Moses in Numbers 6:22–27 to speak a very specific blessing over the Children of Israel. Today, thousands of years later, the holidays of Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) see the children of Israel flock in masses to the Western Wall—the only tangible remnant of the Second Temple and the most sacred spot in Judaism—for a special recital of this age-old blessing.

This morning was no different. Tens of thousands of worshipers from Israel and around the world gathered at the Western Wall for the annual Sukkot Priestly Blessing, or Birkat Hakohanim. As a sea of worshipers stood below, wrapped in the white of their traditional prayer shawls (tallit), the biblical blessing—recited by a group of descendants of Aaron from an overlooking wall—echoed through the Old City of Jerusalem: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26).

The modern version of the ancient blessing was instituted in 1971 by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gafner. In the 51 years since, it has become a tradition that many look forward to over the holidays.

A sense of increased significance permeated the atmosphere as the kohanim (descendants from the priestly class) spoke the words of blessing over the children of Israel this morning. This was, after all, the first time since the COVID pandemic swept the world and called a halt to mass gatherings that worshipers from Israel and around the world were once again allowed to gather in the shadow of the Western Wall for the traditional blessing over Sukkot without any coronavirus restrictions.

Sukkot is the last of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals; the three feast days alongside Passover and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) on which the Almighty instructed Israelite males to travel to Israel’s capital to appear before the Lord in the Temple. Today, thousands of Jews from around the world still travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot in the city where the two Temples stood. Yet the throngs of celebrating people filling the City of Gold are not all Jewish. In fact, this particular feast draws Christians from all over the world in fulfillment of God’s prophecy through the prophet Zechariah that the time will come that all nations “shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16).

This year, for the first time since the COVID-induced ban on international travel, thousands of Christians from America and Australia, Switzerland and South Africa, Japan, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong and everywhere else in between once again arrived in Israel’s capital to worship the King and keep the Feast of Tabernacles. As the streets of Jerusalem echo with the sound of a multitude of tongues, we are humbled to stand as witnesses of the partial fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy.

One of the highlights of the weeklong Sukkot celebrations is the annual Jerusalem March, which sees thousands of Christians from more than 100 nations take to the streets of the Israeli capital to express their love and solidarity with Israel. The procession is a joyous affair, with many Israelis lining the sidewalks to witness the throngs of exuberant Christians—many decked out in special, colorful costumes and waving their national flags—handing out little gifts, singing and calling out messages of support and love.

This year’s Sukkot events come amid soaring tensions in the Promised Land, threatening to plunge the nation into widespread bloodshed. Israel is making every effort to maintain calm. Prime Minister Yair Lapid put the country on record terror alert ahead of the High Holy Days after defense officials presented him with some 70 concrete warnings about imminent attacks during the holiday season. Some 20,000 police officers have been stationed around the country, with a focus on Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Forces have also been beefed up in and around the Old City for this morning’s blessing.

As we look ahead to the rest of the days of Sukkot, we invite Christians around the world to join us in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 12, 2022)

Photo Credit: Brenda Groat/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God that this ancient tradition continues to be observed by His children after literally thousands of years and particularly after two years of isolation due to the pandemic. Thank Him for the thousands of Christians from around the world who made their way to the holy city for the celebration in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Scripture

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”


- Psalm 122:6–7