Millions of Christians around the world joined the Global Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem on Sunday.
Hundreds of Christians in Jerusalem joined participants from 175 nations and more than 300,000 churches for this year's event.
"This is the Day for Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem," Rev. Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings, told the crowd that gathered on the Haas Promenade overlooking Jerusalem.
The inspiration comes from Psalm 122:6, which says to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper who love you."
Organizers say the event is the largest Jerusalem-focused prayer initiative in the world.
Urgent Need for Prayer
Stearns told CBN News that prayer is especially important now because of growing tension between Israel and its neighbors and enemies.
"Right now I believe it's vital for Christians to pray for truth to come to the forefront. The amount of lies that so surround these issues with Israel and the Middle East—incredible amounts of media distortion, are all over the place," he said.
"We've got to pray to for truth and discernment, and that's why I encourage people to become educated on these issues," he said.
Knesset Member Gila Gamliel, deputy chair for the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, said she came to bless the Christians.
"This support brings us—as the leaders of Israel—to feel we are not alone. We have a lot of support from all over the world," Gamliel said.
"I want to thank all of them about all their support and prayer, and this is why we are very strong here in Israel to stand very strong about keeping Jerusalem united forever," Gamliel told CBN News.
Columnist Michael Freund, director of Shavei Israel, said it's very moving to see such strong solidarity with Christians around the world.
"We know that Jewish-Christian relations over the past 2,000 years have had some very rough spots. So to be standing here now and to see Christians praying for the Jewish state, for the capital of the Jewish state, is something historical," Freund told CBN News. "And this country, my country, my people, we face some very difficult challenges.
"And all of us who love Israel and support Israel, now is the time to turn to the Creator and to plead with Him to have mercy on His people Israel," he said.
Committed to Pray
Christians also told CBN News of their commitment to pray for Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
Lotof Jammal is one of the directors of Christian Union in the Holy Land, a ministry that is working to unite local Arab Christians here.
"I am here to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as an Arab Christian in Israel. We want peace in the city, in the holy city that's for Christians of course," Jammal said.
Dr. Bambang Susanto co-pastors the World Transformation Church near Jakarta, Indonesia. The country has no diplomatic relations with Israel, yet every year tens of thousands of Indonesian Christians visit.
"Every year we come here from Indonesia and we pray and we bless Israel because [it] particularly state[s] in the Bible that those who bless Israel will be blessed," Susanto said.
Rev. David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church in Jerusalem's Old City, said God loves the Jewish people so Christians should, too.
"I'm here today basically because I'm a firm believer in what Paul says in Romans chapter 11. In that chapter Paul says God loves the Jewish people for the sake of the patriarchs," Pileggi said.
"And if God loves the Jewish people, I think we, as Christians, need to love the Jewish people as well," he continued. "And probably one of the most important things we can do for the Jewish people and one of the most practical things we can do is pray."
Stearns said the way the world looks at Jerusalem every day is almost lifted from the pages of scripture.
"The most significant thing we look at is that the prophetic scriptures regarding Jerusalem, which wouldn't even have made sense 100 years ago, 150 years ago," Stearns said. "I mean Jerusalem was hardly a topic of conversation among the nations of the world [then]."
Stearns said it was almost a forgotten city except among Jewish people who prayed every year to return to it. "Now you can't build an apartment building in Jerusalem without having it be a global controversy," he added.
"I certainly believe we're living in prophetic times," Stearns said. "Surely part of what God is saying to the Church today in the world has to do with the city of Jerusalem."
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