It wasn’t long ago in my daily Bible reading that I read the words penned by King David commanding readers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I highlighted the text as I began to think about it. David was specific in telling us to pray for his beloved city saying that those who love Jerusalem would be secure.
Have I been faithful to pray for Jerusalem? I’m being honest here and I have to say, with regrets, that I have not been obedient to this command. While I have heard of this verse during my 40 years of Christianity, I simply never took it as a command that I must be obedient to.
But that has changed. To help me remember to pray for Jerusalem, I have placed some sticky notes around our home with topics to pray for. Once I notice that I’m no longer reading these notes, I will change them so they are always fresh.
But I will also use this handy prayer guide to help my praying as I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Why sit there in prayer but not know how to pray? This guideline will be a huge help!
Before we do that, let’s look at why we should pray for Jerusalem. What’s so special about this one city out of all the cities in Israel or all the cities in the world, that we should pray for it?
Why We Should Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Here are a few reasons why believers should regularly pray for Jerusalem. Let’s begin with the obvious “why”.
- Psalm 122:6 is written by David as he was inspired by Holy Spirit. The command is to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” which comes with a blessing for those who love Jerusalem. So we’re not only to pray for Jerusalem but we should have a love for this city as well.
- Jerusalem, the holy city of God, is His chosen city, Zechariah 3:2. And in Zechariah 1:14, God said “I am jealous for Jerusalem…”. God does not want anyone else to have His chosen city. Jeremiah 3:17 says that “they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD…” and “all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD and to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is also the only city that will live forever, Revelation 21:1-4 when the old earth will pass away and a new heaven and new earth with a new Jerusalem will come down from heaven from God. This city is referenced in the Bible over 800 times so there must be some importance to it, right?
- Jerusalem, though its location is not prime for a capital city, is important to the surrounding nations and to the world as a whole. This is the only city in the world that God includes in His future plans (Revelation 21:1-4). And all eyes are on this city for fear of prophecy being fulfilled. It has been and will continue to be fulfilled because God is jealous for His chosen city.
- This city has seen much tragedy over the years. The city walls have been destroyed and later rebuilt, the temple destroyed and later rebuilt, the people carried away to captivity and then returned, and yet today, the city still stands as a testimony to God’s Word. It has played a central role in Jewish history in the past and continues to be central to those of the Jewish faith and even to the world. David said to pray for the peace of Jerusalem because this city is in a continuous battle. Every so often you hear in the news of surrounding nations bombing Israel and Jerusalem. It is contentious for sure!
Jesus Wept for Those He Loved
Have you ever wondered why Jesus wept? Scriptures record two instances of Jesus weeping over those He loved.
Turn with me to John 11:35 where we read the shortest verse in the Bible, Jesus wept. Why was He weeping? Well, His friend, Lazarus, whom He loved (John 11:5) had died. There were weeping and mourning among the sisters and neighbours and now that Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus died, He wept also. This is the first recorded incident of Jesus weeping over someone.
Now let’s look at Luke 19:41 where we read that as Jesus came near the city and looked at it, He wept over it. Why did Jesus weep over the city of Jerusalem? Read the next verse where He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “if you only knew what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from you.”
Everyone wants to live in peace. Listen to teenagers when they say, ‘leave me alone.’ They want peace but they, like Jerusalem, don’t know what would really bring them peace. They are too focused on themselves to find out God’s best for them.
Jesus continued, saying, ‘the day will come when your enemies will barricade you in, surrounding you and keep you captive.’ Jesus knew what was going to come and He wept over it. He wept over His city because they would not live in peace. There would be days and years of contention with no lasting peace.
And so, David reminds us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to pray for the inhabitants, for their safety, for their return to their homeland. And when we pray for Jerusalem, we will be blessed with God’s security and be at rest, Psalm 122:6-7.
15 Tips to Help You Pray for Jerusalem
Did you know that the first Sunday of October is the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem? I did not know that but now I do and I just added that to my calendar so I won’t forget this coming fall. But why wait til October to pray for Jerusalem? Why not pray now? Why not be the watchmen over Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:6-7) through our prayers?
I asked a dear friend of mine what she prays for when praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I was quick to make notes as I could see her heart as she loves the Jewish people. So, I’ve compiled a list of ways of how to pray for Jerusalem that will help both you and me to pray often for this city of God. Some of these tips are from my friend and other sources. These tips are not in any specific order so mix them around as you are led by Holy Spirit. Oh, and you don’t have to use all these prayer points at once, so mix them up from day-to-day.
- peace at the walls of the city, that the walls will not be attacked. Pray for the strong foundation.
- peace in the enemy’s camp, that they will not devise any evil schemes.
- the soldiers’ mothers who do not know if their adult children will return home at the end of the day. And for their spouses and children as war is a stressful time.
- the soldiers as they do their jobs. Pray for their safety, their skill in their training and performance.
- God’s anointing oil to be poured out over the city.
- the peace of families living within the city walls. These families are Orthodox Jews, Messianic Jews, and Palestinian Muslims.
- the peace of those who live outside the city walls. Again, they are a varied culture that ought to live in peace and harmony.
- Jewish families who are scattered abroad to return to Israel.
- the economy of Jerusalem and Israel, Psalm 122:7. That the people will have the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families.
- peace on the streets from one corner of the city to the other, no matter who lives there.
- all those living in the city to be under conviction of sin. That Holy Spirit will reveal to them that Godly righteousness and judgment are lacking in their lives and they need to repent.
- all levels of government in Israel and in Jerusalem to be honest and upright and full of integrity.
- the root of corruption to be exposed and cleansed. Let righteousness rule in government.
- leaders who are elected or appointed to be the best fit for their positions. In other words, the right people in the right positions at the right time.
- strong men and women of God to be influential to those in leadership.
- BONUS: the people to live holy and blameless before God, that they would put away the abominations and live uprightly before Him.
Download these tips in this free prayer guide to help you pray for Jerusalem.
Interesting Facts about Jerusalem
I’m sure that when you think of Jerusalem, in your mind, you are thinking that those who live there are all Jewish. However, according to Rev. Dr. Jack Sara of Bethlehem Bible College, that is not true. His post, written in January 2018, When You Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, Remember to Pray for All of Its Residents is quite an eye-opener for us westerners who have no clue on what life is like in Israel.
Let me summarize some facts from his linked post that I found very interesting:
- “Almost 300,000 residents of Jerusalem are Palestinian Muslims and Christians—the latter a mere 10,000 people.
- The Mount of Olives, for example, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, is largely a Muslim neighborhood today.
- In neighborhoods like Shu’afat, the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem—many of the people who lost their homes in 1948 and 1967—are not allowed Israeli citizenship and live in walled-off, slummy neighborhoods that receive very little municipal support for things like pavement, schools, electricity and other amenities— though they pay the same municipal taxes as everyone else in Jerusalem.
- The inequality in Jerusalem is staggering, as all who have dared to honestly observe it can attest. This inequality is also largely hidden from the eyes of the typical tourist who walks starry-eyed through the streets of the old city.”
I had no idea! Did you?
All the more reason to pray for the peace of Jerusalem! God’s chosen people are suffering and need God’s intervention in their daily lives. Definitely, I will be praying for ALL the people who live in Jerusalem and in Israel.
So, rather than be a stumbling block, I have decided to be a pray-er, a watchman, on behalf of all who live in Jerusalem. I hope you will join me as we make a difference through our prayers so we see God’s shalom peace settle on His beloved city.
That’s a Wrap
I feel better equipped to pray for the peace of Jerusalem now. Do you? I hope you downloaded your free prayer guideline to help you pray for Jerusalem.
To wrap this up, we learned a few things.
- God loves and is jealous for His city, Jerusalem, and will not allow it to be stolen from Him.
- Jesus wept over the city. Not just gentle tears but real sobs.
- David commanded the Jewish people and all who read his words to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and love this city.
- While David said to pray for peace within the city walls and prosperity in the city, we also have other ways to pray in specifics.
- Real-life in Jerusalem is not what we think as there are many people who are living in poverty and hardship. We need to pray for them.
I hope this has been a help to you and that you will commit to pray for Jerusalem. Maybe I will see you on the wall as a watchman, as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem together.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I read all the comments and would love to hear from you.
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Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.