Please pray for all caught up in the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza. Believers in the region share some ways to pray.
It’s now one month since conflict began in Gaza/Israel, following the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October. War continues to rage, and the church in Gaza and in Israel are asking for your continuing prayers.
Many thousands of people have been killed in the attacks on Gaza, and the death toll in Israel is around 1,400, while some 240 people are being held hostage by Hamas. Many more have lost their homes and belongings. The majority of those killed in Israel and in Gaza are civilians.
Bible Society director Victor Kalisher, who is based in Jerusalem, leads a team distributing Bibles, Bible-based resources and humanitarian aid. Bible-based resources recently developed for the growing local church are now being read and asked for by many more people, he shares: “We see how much-needed these resources are, especially now that people go through very difficult and frightening times, especially for young people and children.”
Nashat Filmon, also a Bible Society director, adds that ‘there was no refuge’ for Christians in the Gaza strip. The thousand-strong Christian community there is taking shelter in two churches in the territory. Eighteen Christians were killed when part of the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City was hit during a bombardment on 20 October. Another Christian died some days later in the south of the Gaza strip. “For Christians, including our staff, there is nowhere else to go,” said Nashat. “They will not leave. These days are very tough. We are praying may God have mercy and help us to give hope to others. That is our prayer.”
The Bible Society office in Gaza was damaged during an air strike and, in Tel Aviv, a rocket fell 100 metres from the Bible Society shop, also causing considerable damage. In both situations, Kalisher and Filmon say that they are relying on God.
Please keep praying for all those caught up in this conflict, including our Christian brothers and sisters in Gaza, on the West Bank and in Israel.
Father God, I echo Nashat Filmon’s prayer that, in Your mercy, You enable Christians caught up in this conflict to give hope to others. Use Your church to be the light of Christ in the darkness, and bring peace and reconciliation to this region. Please give your strength and encouragement to those who are mourning, injured or fearful. Amen.
9 October 2023
Your prayers are urgently needed for all caught up in the escalating violence following a surprise attack by Hamas on southern Israel last Saturday (7 October).
Several news outlets have reported that more than 1,200 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas launched its attacks, including 260 at a music festival. It is reported that more than 150 Israelis have also been kidnapped and taken to Gaza. Israeli authorities announced a state of war and launched massive retaliatory air strikes into Gaza in response, which have already killed more than 1,300 people. Thousands of people in southern Israel and Gaza have been injured in the ongoing attacks. Christians in Israel and Gaza are asking for prayer – for protection, an end to hostilities, and for justice and peace to reign. Civilians on both sides are living in intense fear, and believers are sharing their experiences and asking for prayer from the global church.
“My family and I feel fear, due to the heavy bombardments, and we feel that the house will fall – it is a permanent earthquake,” a Christian father in Gaza shared with Open Doors partners. He asked to remain anonymous. “We try to hug our children and relieve them of fear and terror.
“We do not know what is coming… all we see, hear and feel is war… explosions and destruction everywhere and the screaming of children from the intensity of the bombing. There is a strong fear of what is coming as there is no safe place in Gaza,” he continues.
This man is one of more than 1,000 Palestinian Christians in Gaza. The churches in Gaza cancelled all their services last weekend, due to the current war and the bombings of the Israeli air force.
Christians in Israel are – like all civilians – also fearful of how they, their families and communities will be affected by ongoing violence. Around two per cent of Israelis identify as Christians.
Open Doors partners working in the region have recently confirmed that they are all currently safe – though one of them, on Saturday morning, had a rocket hit the house next door to them.
In this complex, ongoing situation, your prayers are earnestly requested by believers.
The Christian in Gaza asks: “We pray that love and peace will prevail in our country and I ask for a prayer for God's protection over my family and our home, that the war will end quickly, and that the Lord will meet all needs, especially at this time, and that we be can be the light in the middle of this total darkness and reflect the light and love of Christ in Gaza.” Please join with him in this prayer.
Christians in Israel similarly ask for peace and protection, and to be able to shine the light of Christ in an area that is so significant in Jesus’s ministry on earth and in the history of our faith.
Pray for an end to all violence and injustice in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Pray that the church might be a beacon of hope for the people around through their testimony in words and actions.
Pray that the Lord will comfort those who have lost loved ones, or who are waiting to hear about missing family and friends.
Pray also that the international community will work towards lasting peace in the Holy Land.
Sovereign God, I pray for peace in Israel and Gaza – for an end to hostilities and for peacemakers on both sides. Comfort all who mourn and all who are waiting to hear news of missing loved ones. Give boldness and compassion to Christians on both sides to shine the light of Christ in their communities, and equip national and international leaders with wisdom. May Your will be done, and may Your loving kindness be evident to all. Amen.
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