“We are at war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address yesterday. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war after a deadly shock attack on Israel launched by Hamas during a holy reflective time in Israel.
This is a sad development in our world today. BTJ is asking everyone to pray for the victims of the war during this time. There is a lot of information about the attack and some of it can be confusing. BTJ has been working in this region for several years and can help sift through the information to make it easier to understand and pray for.
WHO IS HAMAS?
The attacks that are being reported in the news were launched by Hamas, an Islamic militant wing of a Palestinian political party that is very strong in Gaza Strip. This is an area that they want to be free from Israeli control. Hamas teaches hate towards the Jewish people and do not recognize Israel as a legitimate country.
WHY DID HAMAS ATTACK THIS WEEKEND?
The Jewish people were celebrating Simchat Torah when the attack happened this weekend. Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday celebrated in the synagogue marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. It is a big deal in Israel. This is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night. On each occasion, when the ark is opened, the worshippers leave their seats to dance and sing with the Torah scrolls in a joyous celebration that can last for several hours.
This weekend, when Hamas knew the Jews would be in celebration, they launched their surprise attack leaving hundreds of men, women, and children kidnapped, wounded, and murdered.
WHY IS IRAN BEING MENTIONED IN CONNECTION TO THE ATTACKS?
Hamas is relatively poor, but their attack was reportedly financially supported by Iran. BTJ has been working in Iran for several years and next week have a book being released from one of the key players in the growth of the underground church in Iran called, I DIDN’T SURVIVE, by Naghmeh Panahi.
What a lot of MSM is not reporting is that practice runs for the recent attacks were actually carried out in May 2021, when Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, revealed that Iran, Hamas’ largest donor, helped to pay for the development of Hamas’ missile and defense systems. According to Haniyeh, the attacks in May 2021 were “a rehearsal for the liberation of the Palestinian territories from the occupation.”
Hamas is not alone. Israel is under a major coordinated attack on several different fronts. According to FDD reports, Iran alone has built a network of at least 19 armed groups on Israel’s borders, including in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. According to Israeli Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, every year Iran sends $100 million to Hamas.
Iran has recently gotten its hands on a significant amount of cash to use in support of Hamas and a coordinated attack on Israel. Recent weakening of enforcement of oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic has provided Iran with an instant flood of cash. In August, Iran’s oil exports surpassed 2.2 million barrels per day, a five-year high, with China buying more than than 1.5 million of those barrels per day.
Just weeks ago, the United States released $6 billion to Iran. The funds are argued to only be allowed for humanitarian purposes, but Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made it crystal clear that Tehran will spend the money however it wants. Regardless, the $6 billion fungible, releasing other cash to be freed up to send to Hamas.
SO HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR ISRAEL?
One of the BTJ representatives in Netherlands prayed the following prayer this morning:
God of Abraham, who promised to bless Abraham’s descendants and through him bless all nations,
we pray for the descendants of Abraham in distress. Watch over them as they hide in shelters, as
they are called to the front lines and as they face another traumatizing conflict. Have mercy on them
Prince of peace, we pray for those living in Gaza. May the time come soon when the children will be taught to love and not to hate. When there will be a safe and hopeful future for them. When the
Messiah will call many to himself and reconcile in his body the Jews and the Arabs. Have mercy on
them we pray.
Defender of the needy, we pray for all on both sides of this conflict, who are small and vulnerable,
and who long for nothing but peace. Bless the children in Israel and Gaza and be near to all the
broken hearted. Have mercy on them we pray.
God who sets the captives free, we pray for all those who are held hostage in Gaza, especially the
elderly, the women and children. May they be kept from harm and set free without the need for
violence. May their captors repent and let them go in peace. Have mercy on them we pray.
King of kings, we pray for all the world leaders especially for those in the Middle East. May they seek justice and truth. Bless the plans of those who seek peace. Frustrate the plans of those who seek destruction. Bring the evil ones to repentance. Have mercy on them we pray.
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who redeemed a people for yourself from all nations, may all those
who love Jesus in the Middle East be united in their pursuit of peace. Fill them with wisdom.
Protect them from hate and bitterness. Make them a source of comfort to the suffering. Help them love their enemies. Have mercy on them we pray.
May the words of Psalm 85 become a reality for all who live in the Holy land:
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.