Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem was celebrated by over 90 million Christians across 170 countries, and more than 1,000 Christians traveled from across the world to join Christian and Jewish leaders at the Haas Promenade for an interfaith prayer. Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, the people prayed for peace and worshiped God through song and dance. The annual event brings together Jews and Christians in order to follow the instructions of Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you.”

Robert Stearns, the event’s chief organizer and the executive director of Eagles’ Wings Ministry, said, “The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem was inaugurated in 2005 … Since that time, the first Sunday of October is celebrated as the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem in 174 nations around the world, [and] our materials have been translated into 39 languages.”

Josh Reinstein, director of Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, and Pastor Joe Green, senior vice president of Eagles’ Wings Ministry, both called on Christians to not only keep Israel in their thoughts and prayers but also to work toward better understanding the place Israel and Jerusalem hold in both Judaism and Christianity.

“[God] wants us to think about Jerusalem,” Reinstein said. “He wants us to teach our children about Jerusalem, and so we take that very seriously.”

Green agreed and said, “We need to understand that we are grafted into this incredible place called Israel and Christian churches all over America, they have forgotten that…What we want to do is bring awareness to who we really are. We don’t exist without the Jewish people or the Jewish state. We’re not around. Jesus was a Jew. All the apostles were Jews and so our goal is to somehow bring us back to biblical Christianity and blessings on this incredible place.”

Stearns agreed with both Reinstein and Green. “Jerusalem is the root of our faith. Jerusalem in a sense is the city of both our spiritual birth and of our spiritual hope. We believe that this is the city where the government of God will rule and reign over the nations and so every Christian has to take part in preparing the way of the Lord for His presence in this city.”

Rabbi Marc Schneier, former chief rabbi of New York and rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue, said the event was both a miracle and a cause for hope. “If you look at the history of Christian-Jewish relations for close to 2,000 years, we suffered from persecution by the Christian community,” Schneier said. “Think back to the Crusades, the Inquisition, even the deafening silence of the Church while millions were murdered in the Holocaust, so we’re living in miraculous times. And one of those miracles is the reconciliation between our two faith communities and I believe that we’re also celebrating that here today.”

Stearns seconded the feeling of reconciliation. “We see for the first time in 2,000 years of Church history Jews and Christians having walls of suspicion come down and genuine friendship and cooperation come between Jews and Christians – not pretending that we don’t have theological differences because we do. We’re divided regarding the identity of the Messiah, but we are united in praying and believing for the coming of the Messiah, soon and quickly in our day.”

One can only hope that the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem leads to long lasting friendships between two faiths that share so much common history.

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