Ask any intercessor, “How did you become a person of prayer?” The answers will vary. For myself, someone very dear to me was going through a very troubling time. I was drawn, compelled even, to drop to my knees over and over again, to pray for them and the situation they were facing.
And as I did, something began to happen. First, the Lord began to move in the area I was praying about. And as I continued to draw near to Him in heartfelt intercession and worship, sharing the things that were deeply on my heart, He began to share with me the things that were on His heart. How personal, how humbling and intimate it was!
I was drawn to pray in new ways. My prayer times became fueled not just by the needs of my loved ones, stories I heard on the news or prayer requests I received, but by an in-the-moment, Spirit-led awareness of the things on the Lord’s heart.
Prayer really is a matter of the heart – His and ours. In Romans 10:1, Paul makes a very personal revelation that invites us into his emotions and values and even into His intimate relationship with the Lord. He says this: “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for Israel is for their salvation.” What an amazing and powerful statement. His heart’s desire and His prayers were in sync with one another, and those were the things that He brought to the Lord.
Paul also prayed from a deep understanding of what the Lord said about and to His Chosen People throughout the Tanakh (the Old Testament). Time in God’s Word and God’s presence no doubt played a significant role in coupling His heart’s desire with prayer for His people – the Jewish people.
As I pray with many Believers from around the world, even those who have a deep desire to see people from every nation, tribe and tongue come to know Jesus, there is sometimes a lack of awareness or priority regarding praying for the Jewish people to come to know our Messiah, Jesus. Israel is seen as a country, and less frequently as a people. Believers fervently pray for the Church, but offer little intercession specifically for Messianic Jewish Believers and congregations, and the special place they hold in God’s heart and plans.
How can this be addressed? By prayer, of course! Prayer from the heart. And perhaps we should include prayer for our hearts. I wonder sometimes if Paul’s reference to the “fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25 refers not just to numbers, but to fullness of understanding and revelation – full hearts that beat in sync with the Lord and His Word regarding His love and plans for His people.
Just as we pray for the softening of the Jewish people’s hearts, may we also pray for Gentile Believers to have ever-increasing tenderness and passion in our hearts. May we join that with prayer for God’s people to know Him and once they do, to walk out their Jewish identity as followers of Yeshua with boldness and in community with one another.
- Prayerfully search within, according to Psalm 139:23-24. Examining our own hearts is a prerequisite for effective prayer. Is there any ignorance or conceit, for instance, as Paul mentions in Romans 11:25-26?
- Pray for yourself in regard to Paul’s statement from Romans 10:1 – “my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for Israel is for their salvation.” Ask the Lord to shape your heart and make this Scripture true for you as it was for Paul.
- Feed on the Word, which is powerful prayer fuel. What an excellent way this is to know God’s heart, promises, and covenants regarding the Jewish people. And then pray them back to Him, knowing that your prayers are already in agreement.
- Go through this edition of The Messenger and pray over each article and Scripture reference. Use it as a prayer guide. Ask the Lord to touch your heart and implant fresh truth in you as you do.
- Make praying for Israel and the Jewish people a part of your daily quiet time with the Lord. Choose a key verse about Israel and the Jewish people and pray it daily for a week. Or simply say, “Lord, what do you want me to pray for the Jewish people (or Messianic Jewish congregations, or Israel, etc.) today?” And then, pray as the Lord leads.
- Find others with a heart for Israel, the Jewish people, and the growth of Messianic Jewish Believers and congregations, and pray together. Turn your mutual interest into intercession. As each one brings a spark, a fire will start!
And of course, I encourage you to take advantage of praying along with Jewish Voice Ministries – through our Prayer Points, 24-7 Jewish Voice Prayer Watch and other prayer initiatives. We love and value our partnership with you!
Let’s seal this heart conversation with prayer:
Lord, we are on this journey of prayer together, seeking You, calling on You, and aligning with You for the sake of Your people! Continue to move our hearts and compel our prayers. We know that as we pray in agreement, by Your Spirit, and according to Your Word, we will be transformed and see You do wonderful things in Israel and the Nations. In Yeshua’s name, Amen.