JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Don’t miss what God is doing.
Don’t take this for granted.
And don’t stop beseeching God to “set the captives free,” according to Isaiah 61:1.
We have literally witnessed a breathtaking series of miracles this past week with the release of almost 100 Israeli and foreign national hostages.
Plus, negotiations are underway for the possible release of more.
This represents huge answers to the prayers of millions of believers around the world.
But only if we continue to humbly and tirelessly pray to the Almighty God of Israel – and mobilize millions of more people to join us in praying without ceasing – will we see the rest of our hostages safely released.
God is shaking Israel to its core right now.
The Lord is our Shepherd, but too many Israelis don’t know Him, or have ignored him, thus exposing ourselves to the barbaric attacks of savage wolves.
Only if we turn our hearts to our Good Shepherd – and humbly follow God’s roadmap to rescue, and redemption, and victory over our enemies that He lays out clearly and precisely in the Holy Scriptures – can we truly have any hope of success, much less long-term peace.
This was the heart of my message to the participants of the global day of prayer event held at the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem yesterday.
ONLY A DIVINE MIRACLE EXPLAINS THE RELEASE OF NEARLY 100 HOSTAGES
Let’s be honest.
The price has been painfully high for this “deal” with Hamas.
Israel's government has had to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, most of them convicted of terrorism or other serious charges.
Still, do you recall ISIS ever releasing any Jew, Christian or Muslim they captured in Iraq or Syria during their height of their power?
Neither do I.
Rather, the demonic forces of ISIS beheaded those they captured – or burned them alive – filming each of these gruesome murders and posting the videos on YouTube for all the world to see.
And yet, Hamas – which proved itself on October 7th even more demonic, bloodthirsty, and genocidal than ISIS – is releasing Israeli Jews.
Israelis are astonished, as are people all around the world, who were almost certain Hamas would murder all of these hostages and post those videos on social media, as well.
This is the hand of God: He is supernaturally and sovereignly forcing Hamas to release these hostages – as He responds to the prayers of His people all over the globe.
Nothing else explains what’s happening.
ONLY GOD ALMIGHTY CAN RELEASE THE REMAINING HOSTAGES
But what does the future hold?
There are still upwards of 150 hostages who remain in the cruel clutches of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Will they, too, be miraculous released?
Not if we depend on the goodwill of Hamas.
Only if we keep praying – and mobilize millions of more people to pray fervently, diligently, humbly, and without ceasing.
GOD BLESS THE MEMBERS OF KNESSET WHO TOOK THE INITIATIVE TO HOLD A GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER
That’s why I was so encouraged that Members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) held a Global Day of Prayer yesterday, instead the Knesset building in Jerusalem.
Eight weeks into this ghastly war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still hasn’t called for a National Day of Prayer.
Nor has Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
But to their great credit, Knesset Members from a broad spectrum of political parties – including the Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana from the Likud party, and Tatiana Mazarsky from Yesh Atid, and Matan Kahana from the National Unity party, and Ohad Tal from the Religious Zionist party – decided not to wait any longer.
Showing remarkable unity, they worked together to organize their own event.
What’s more, they didn’t just invite Orthodox Jewish rabbis to join them.
They also invited Jews and Evangelical Christians – including those affiliated with the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast – to help them organize, publicize, and webcast the event, and to speak and pray at it.
And they invited Christian media outlets to cover it.
If that weren’t enough, they also invited Christian leaders in government from all over the world to send video messages and prayers.
Among the Evangelical Christians who participated:
Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives
Ted Cruz, the senior Senator from Texas
and Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and U.S. Secretary of State
to name just a few
God bless them all.
I WAS SURPRISED AND HUMBLED TO BE INVITED TO PRAY IN THE KNESSET
It's not often – actually, almost never – that an Israeli Evangelical follower of Jesus from a Jewish background would be invited to speak in the Knesset, much less given the opportunity to pray.
So, as you might imagine, I was surprised and humbled to be asked.
And honored to say yes.
Indeed, I want to say here a special word of thanks to the main organizers of this very special and critically important event, Knesset Member Tatiana Mazarsky and Albert Veksler, the executive director of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast movement.
They understand better than most that what we are currently engaged in is not just a military and geopolitical battle between good and evil.
This is, at its core, a spiritual battle between the forces of God Almighty and the forces of Satan himself.
And I want to commend every Knesset Member, Jewish rabbi and Evangelical leader who participated in the event.
And all those who watched online around the world.
Thank you, God bless you, and may their tribe increase.
WHERE WAS GOD ON OCT. 7, AND WILL WE TURN TO HIM NOW? MY MESSAGE AT THE KNESSET
The following is both the video and text of my full message and prayer – I hope you’ll find it encouraging and will share it on social media to educate your family and friends and mobilize them to start praying earnestly as well.
Thank you, Albert [Veksler]. Thank you very much.
And to each of the members of Knesset and to the Jewish community and to my fellow Evangelicals and Israelis, thank you.
It's not a common thing to be an Israeli Jewish Evangelical, but I'm honored to be invited even to attend an event like this, much less to have the opportunity to address you all.
I do want to say a prayer, but I don't have any words of my own to offer.
You know, we have my wife and I have four sons, two of which have served in the IDF, in [the units of] Duvdevan and Isuf Kravi.
And our hearts are grieving with the rest of our country.
And so, I want to say a prayer of some various scriptures that have been very much on my heart as we've been processing this, as we've been doing humanitarian relief with our Evangelical NGO [The Joshua Fund] and trying to report and explain what's happening.
So, I have my notes of these scriptures, and that's why my eyes will be open as I pray, so I can read the verses.
I leave it to you as to how you would like to pray.
Let me begin by saying: We have been shaken.
The first thing that has come to mind, Lord Father – the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – is that you sent your prophet Amos (Amos 9:9) to tell us that we would be shaken in these last days.
“For behold, I am commanding and I will shake the house of Israel among the nations.”
Lord, You have shaken us.
And we are badly shaken.
If I had written a novel, Lord, about a Hamas invasion with almost no combat soldiers on our borders, nobody would have published that novel.
Nobody would have believed it.
It wouldn't have been plausible.
But You have shaken us because we thought we were okay.
We thought we were safe, but we weren't.
Why have you shaken us, Lord?
You have shaken us because You love us.
You didn't send that army of terrorists.
That was Satan.
But You allowed it sovereignly to happen.
Because You love us and You want to get our attention.
You sent Your prophet Jeremiah (in Jeremiah 31:3) to tell us, to tell the nation of Israel, to tell the Jewish people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, and therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”
And you gave us, of course, Psalm 23 – the Psalm of David – because You love us.
You want to remind us that we are Your children, that we are the sheep of Your pasture, and that You alone are our Shepherd.
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”
You are our Good Shepherd.
You don't want harm to come to us.
But if we forget who You are, if we refuse to let You be our Good Shepherd, if we wander off as though we can take care of ourselves, if we refuse to let You protect us, then we run a very real risk of as individuals, as a nation, of being attacked by savage wolves, barbaric beasts who hate Israel and the Jewish people and seek to devour us.
It's been happening from the beginning of time.
You've warned us that these barbarians, these savages, these savage wolves, are out there.
And yet, we forget that if we trust only in our army and not in You to be above and guiding our army, that we are in grave danger.
But You also tell us that there is good news.
You sent the prophet Isaiah – in Isaiah 61:1 – to tell us this.
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
You prophesied to the future Messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted.”
We need good news right now, Lord. We need good news. Your news.
And You said you would “bring good news to the afflicted.”
We are afflicted.
You said, “he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn Lord.”
We need this more than we have ever needed it.
We need it now.
We need You to bring good news.
We need You to bind up our broken hearts. We need You to set free the captives, the prisoners, and to bring vengeance on our enemies. And a favorable year to us if we humble ourselves and to comfort us as we mourn.
Lord, You spoke through Solomon as he dedicated the Temple.
Solomon had an interesting prayer in I Kings, chapter 8, and I think it's very applicable.
Lord, help us to process the words of Solomon.
He was wise.
He didn't always follow that wisdom, but he was wise, and he spoke because You spoke through him.
“When Your people go to war against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the Lord towards the city, You have chosen this city, and the Temple that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea and uphold their cause when they sinned against You – for there is no one who does not sin – and You become angry with them and give them over to their enemies who take them captive to their own lands far away or near, and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive and repent and plead with You in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly,’ and if they turn back to You with all of their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive and they pray to You toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city You have chosen and the Temple I have built for your name, then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea. Uphold their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against You, all of them, and caused their captors to show them mercy for they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out of Egypt out of that iron smelting furnace. May Your eyes be open to Your servant's plea and to the plea of Your people, Israel. And may You listen to them wherever they cry out to You, for You singled them out from the nations, all the nations of the world, to be Your own inheritance, just as You declared through your servant Moses, when You, sovereign Lord, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”
This was a great prayer – and it is so timely for today.
This is the prayer that we lifting up to You today, Lord.
That we would humble ourselves and repent of our sins and ask You to come back and lead our nation.
Turn our nation’s leaders to call for national days of prayer and fasting for the nations of this and hear our prayers.
And then You did answer King Solomon.
We see Your answer in writing in 2 Chronicles, chapter 7.
“When Solomon had finished the Temple of the Lord – and the Royal Palace – and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the Temple of the Lord and in his own palace, then Lord, You appeared to Him that night and you said this, ‘I have heard your prayer and I have chosen this place for Myself as a Temple for sacrifices. When I shut up to the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a terrible plague of diseases among my people, then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.”
And You go on, Lord, You say: “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place, in Jerusalem.”
You said, “I have chosen and consecrated this Temple.”
We get it that the Temple is gone.
But You say that Your Name will be there forever.
You didn't say the Temple would be there forever.
You said Your Name would be there forever.
And You said, “My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
And this is what we're praying, Lord.
This is what we're praying.
Your eyes are still on this place.
Your eyes are still on this people.
You did not send this evil on October 7th.
Satan sent this evil.
But because you're our Shepherd – and not all of us were listening, we’re not all seeking you – and when a sheep wanders from the flock, it's in danger.
And we have just realized that we are in much more danger than we previously understood.
We're grateful for the peace treaties.
We're grateful for the Abraham Accords.
We're grateful that we were about to make peace with the Saudis.
But we let down our guard.
We got our eyes off of You.
We felt relaxed and prosperous and peaceful.
We forgot that savage wolves were determined to come after us.
And what I want to do is return my heart to You, Lord.
As I close this prayer, I want to recall again those words that You prophetically spoke to the Messiah in Isaiah 61.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance against our enemies of our God, and to comfort all who mourn.”
This is our prayer.
This is my prayer, Lord.
And I don't know anything more important or powerful, Father, than to pray scripture.
To pray the promises You've already made.
To follow the example of the people who already have prayed these prayers in history.
To remember that you are the prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.
And You keep Your promises.
So, this is what we do.
This is what I do.
Lord, I know not everybody here sees the world – or even You – the same way that I do.
But I thank You for this opportunity.
And I pray in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – with gratitude to you, and begging You to fulfill these prayers.
Set our captives free.
Bind up our broken hearts.
And proclaim a favorable year as we go forward.
Thank you, Lord.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.