Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Yes, God cares about the Palestinians, but the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Defying this reality has turned the Middle East into a powder keg with Turkey, Iran, and the Palestinians playing with matches.

The Israeli navy this morning boarded another ship, the Rachel Corrie in the waters off the coast of Israel.  The Rachel Corrie is another vessel in a “strategic” convoy sailing toward Gaza attempting to break the blockade Israel established to defend its ports. Israeli troops searched the vessel for smuggled weapons and in the process confiscated cameras and cell phones from “activists” aligned with the Free Gaza Movement.  Unlike the tragic encounter earlier this week, this confrontation did not turn violent. The ship was released and is expected to dock in Ashdod sometime today. The activists will then be allowed to catch flights to their respective homelands.  

At stake: will Israel – and yes, the rest of the civilized world – tolerate an Iranian outpost on the Mediterranean? For months Palestinians have been smuggling weapons from Iran through Turkey into Gaza, and stockpiling them there for future conflicts with Israel. After making repeated pleas for help to Europe and the United States – to no avail – Israel set this naval blockade. They do allow humanitarian supplies and construction materials to enter the ports.

The Palestinians have now turned to a battlefield of public opinion in their effort to “drive Israel into the sea.” Realizing they can’t defeat the Israelis militarily, they have resorted to street-protest tactics.  They set a trap with their Turkish flotilla filled with teddy bears and diapers and wheelchairs and on video the battle – started by the protesters – looks as one-sided as the protesters intended. The net result: the “world” has judged the matter on appearance, not intent. Now the enemies of Israel are more than one step closer to separating Israel from he strongest ally, the United Statesl. And Turkey, a onetime ally of both, now an Islamist-leaning state is running cover for Iran and the Palestinians.

This is the crisis behind the crises: What will the world do and not do about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its stated intent to destroy Israel, its mounting aggression in the region, and its defiance of Western democracies? Obama’s empty promises to stop Iran’s aggression through diplomacy and sanctions have failed miserably. Now Israel is poised to deal with the threat directly and if need be alone. The powderkeg…

These conflicts are ancient and more than ethnic, economic, cultural, and territorial. The isse is spiritual and goes back thousands of years. Some believe the matters have all been sealed in the pages of Biblical prophecy. Perhaps. But prophecy was never given by God as fatalism. God doesn’t “say what will be” so that we can sit on our hands and let it all play out. Instead, he shoes us the future and then invites us, even commands us to to engage him with acts of justice and righteousness, passionate compassion, and most of all prayer. our actions can mold history. And prayer above all is our boldest and most powerful tool!

Where diplomacy fall short, we pray. Where blockades and raids, and PR moves and finally bullets and bombs fail, we pray. Today, again we pray for peace in the Middle East, for an embrace by the world of the divine right of the Jews to steward the land of Israel, and finally for Messiah to come… As the Jews say, for the first time; as the Christians say, for the second! In His Name…

“God, we pray again for peace in the Middle East. We pray for words of peace to have power. We pray for calm heads and hearts, for truth to be told, and deception to fail. We pray for what only you can bring – a miracle of established and settled Peace! In the name of Messiah…”

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