…that is, the International Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. IDPPJ fits better in the title, though.
You can read a little bit about the Day of Prayer here. It’s today, October 7th, with millions (literally) of Christians around the world joining together to ask God for the peace of Jerusalem (see Psalm 122:6).
Something to remember is that the peace we’re praying for is more than just a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians. Don’t get me wrong, we do want to pray for an end to the violence, because there are real lives at stake in every suicide bomb and every launched rocket. We want to ask for God to intervene and save lives. However, most people stop here when they pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The idea of peace in the city evokes something along the lines of Disney’s “It’s a Small World”, where everyone lives in happiness and harmony because we’ve all just learned to get along.
The truth of the matter, however, is that modern-day Israel is in such shambles because she has largely rejected God. There is a righteous remnant, to be sure, but most of the nation has either rejected the idea of God altogether, turned to the occult, or remains mired in a system of law and religious worship that ends up missing the heart of God entirely. Lovers of Jesus are few and far between in that region.
God, in His kindness, promised trouble to Israel if she turned from Him. Deuteronomy 28 is a startlingly graphic description of the judgments that would befall a consistently rebellious nation. Many of these have come upon Israel throughout history — some of it even within the lifetimes of people reading this blog right now. The purpose of these judgments is not to pummel Israel as revenge; rather, they are a wake-up call to indicate that all is not right with the nation, and it’s time to again seek the Lord. In His great kindness, God refuses to let Israel run away from Him without a fight. He will not surrender her to the wayward tendencies that have plagued her for her entire history. Because He loves her, and because He has promised Himself to her, He is committed to making life hard for her if she tries to live it apart from Him.
That doesn’t mean anyone’s going to give up their humanistic idea of peace anytime soon. In fact, it is the desire for peace without Christ that will drive Israel to enter into a “covenant of death” with the Antichrist (Dan 9:27, Isa 28:15). The treaty, which only was seven years to begin with, will be cut short in three and a half years. Israel will enter into the pact to have peace from their enemies, and in so doing, blindly come into agreement with the enemy of God — an enemy who will actually be bent on their destruction.
When Jerusalem has peace, but doesn’t have Jesus, things go sour for everybody.
So pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Yes, that includes asking for the bombings and warfare to stop now. But ultimately, we’re asking for the only day when Jerusalem will know true peace: the day her King returns in glory and will rule from Zion. When Jesus returns, “all Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26), and then — and only then — will Jerusalem know real peace.