When I pray for Israel on my church’s Noche Jai (Night dedicated to pray for Israel), I wonder why should I pray for a nation that will not experience peace until Jesus’ Second Coming. I wonder why should I pray for a nation that will not be right with God until The Great Tribulation.
Last Night I found the answer. Praying for Israel has the same effect on me that the Israelites had when they prayed for the Babylonians when the Israelites were in captivity. God through the prophet Jeremiah on Jeremiah 29:7.
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
I like this text because it explains the reasoning behind this command. It makes sense. This was what God used to show me why I need to pray for peace for not just Israel, but for other nations as well. My well-being as an individual in a social system depends not just on what happens on the family, church, or community level but also on what happens on a political and international level, especially in Israel- which is the nation that God chose. This is what in Health Education is called the Social Determinants of Health (things at different levels of society that determine our access to good health and quality of life, most of which we can’t control). God is saying that we need to pray for Him to deal with the Social Determinants of Health, which is something that we cannot control but we need for it to be in our favor to have health and quality of life… and peace.
Of course, in Jeremiah, peace was defined as absence of war. In the last 60 years, give or take 5 years, peace was defined by academics as more than just the absence of war. If you look at the New Testament, the topic as peace through absence of war is rarely mentioned. Instead, peace has to do more with your lifestyle and with a relationship with God than with war. It was meant to transcend the Social Determinants of Health. It’s meant to catalyze social change and be an indicator of one’s closeness with God.
Given the argument in the last paragraph, then praying for the peace of Israel is not just absence of war. It’s about internal peace. It’s about having peace through their lifestyle… a Godly lifestyle. It’s about praying for a type of peace that is not dependent on war. Therefore, praying for Israel’s peace is not a waste of time if the definition of peace is right.
A few months ago, my Pastor stated that the reason that in Jesus’ Millennium Reign there will be no war is because Satan will be bound all that time. As an INTJ with knowledge of Peace Education, I knew that the Pastor was making a fundamental mistake. I told him after the service that Satan being bound wasn’t enough because peace is more than absence of war. He didn’t listen. It’s sad, because this misses a fundamental point: Peace without Jesus isn’t peace, it’s just absence of War. Jesus was clear: His peace is not like that which the World provides. Therefore, Satan being bound is not enough to have peace.
This is why praying for peace is so important: because what we are asking is for God to give His peace, and when He gives peace will be unlike anything that the world can offer or imagine.