Millions of Christians united despite denominational, cultural and political differences on Sunday as part of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ) to intercede for the city God calls His own and to invoke God's blessing, purposes and provision upon all of Jerusalem's people.
From more than 175 nations, believers gathered to pray in their worship services, in their homes, in regional gatherings, on the prayer app Instapray, and on a 24-hour prayer conference call.
Broadcast by GOD TV to 200-plus nations, Christians and Jews were also able to participate in the special Jerusalem DPPJ Celebration—hosted by Eagles' Wings founder and executive director, the Rev. Robert Stearns—at the beautiful Haas Promenade overlooking the city.
Ambassador Michael Oren, the keynote speaker, was joined by religious leaders from the Jewish and Christian communities as well as members of the Knesset that included Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat; Akiva Tor, head of the Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Faydra Shapiro, director of the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish Christian Relations; Bishop Canon Andrew White of St George's Church in Iraq; and many others.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also sent a personal letter to the gathering expressing his appreciation on behalf of himself and all the citizens of Israel, for all who were praying for Jerusalem's peace.
White, nicknamed the "Vicar of Baghdad," pastors the only Anglican church in Iraq whose members either have been martyred or driven away by ISIS. He was visibly moved, as were those in the audience, when he shared: "We are in the midst of the most horrendous slaughter against Christians in Iraq. The first people who stood with us was not the church, but the Jews. The first people who stood with us were our Jewish brothers and sisters, who came to us and said: 'We have been there. We have known the horrors of The Shoah. We will not leave you.' Thank you, Israel."
Former Ambassador Oren shared what a tough summer it had been for the people of Israel and said in response to months of world condemnation: "To those who would deny Jews the right to live in their ancient homeland, we say that it is not only anti-Zionist but also anti-Christian. We say this because Jesus—who was born in Bethlehem, baptized near Jericho and lived in Judea—would today be an "illegal settler" by their definition. ... And to any church that would remain silent in the face of Palestinian denial that the temple ever existed, it is not only denying The Temple but also denying The Gospel because it is denying the very place where Jesus taught."
This multinational, multi-denominational global prayer movement was started in 2002 and is co-chaired by evangelical Christian leaders Stearns, Jack Hayford and Paul Cedar. Stearns took the opportunity to remind those gathered of the call that brought them together.
"This day is a day of prayer, in the very city whose ultimate calling is to be a 'House of Prayer' for all nations," he said. "True prayer believes for the impossible. We must gather and believe today that swords can be beaten into plowshares, that the Lion can lay down with the Lamb, that mercy can triumph over judgment, and that together a spiritual solution can be found to these current problems that manifest politically. Prayer is not a recitation of how bad things are but of how good things can become."
Christians participating in the DPPJ observances not only pray for Jerusalem, but also add practical action to their intercession. This year a check of $15,000 was presented by Stearns from the DPPJ offerings to support two Feeding Centers in Israel, which feed both the Arab and Jewish poor in Jerusalem and Tiberias.
Additionally, millions participated by praying in their churches, homes and special services throughout the day—from cities to rural villages, from huts to mansions, and from cathedrals to underground churches in China and seven Muslim countries. Hispanic evangelical leader the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, oversees more than 500,000 Latin churches globally, and he is just one of more than 1,300 global leaders endorsing DPPJ. Pastor Daniel Ouma in Tanzania reported that his church has had 24-hour prayer for Jerusalem since Sept. 1 and that by the end of the day on Sunday, 1,650 Christians in his church had fasted and prayed.
Throughout the 24 hours Sunday, believers from around the world also prayed together through an Internet "virtual prayer room" created by the 24-Hour DPPJ Prayer Conference Call. Callers representing the U.S. were joined by believers from many nations, including Kenya, Africa, Australia, Canada, Germany and others. The total combined minutes of prayer was 81,543, which is the equivalent to one person praying nonstop for 56 days of continual prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
New to 2014 was the addition of social media, with global believers joining one another in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem through the world's leading prayer app, Instapray. As soon as one person would release their prayer for Jerusalem, within minutes a multitude of others from places like India, the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Australia, Ghana, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia, sent back messages saying that they too had prayed with them. Of course if you multiply this scenario for each person praying for Jerusalem via Instapray on Sunday, the number of prayers released around the world were amazing. There were 7,018 "likes" for #DPPJ from Instapray members in less than two hours.
The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem—on the first Sunday of every October—is the largest Jerusalem-focused prayer initiative in the world, involving tens of millions of believers participating each year from more than 175 nations. It is endorsed by over 1,300 prominent Christian leaders worldwide, including Jack Hayford, Paul Cedar, T. D Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Samuel Rodriguez, Michael W. Smith, Dick Eastman, Ron Luce, Kay Arthur, Jane Hansen Hoyt, K.P. Yohannan, Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Raleigh Washington, Kenneth Copeland, Lance Wallnau, Larry Stockstill, Bishop Charles Scott, The Newsboys, Dennis Balcombe, Sunday Adelaja, and many more.
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