5 Ways to Pray for the Jewish People and the ‘Peace of Jerusalem’

Biblical truths can guide our prayers for the Jewish people in Israel and around the world in 2023.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you prosper; may there be peace within your walls, prosperity within your fortresses” (Psalm 122:6-7 HCSB).

King David wrote Psalm 122 to be sung while ascending to the temple mount for holy days and sacrifices. Today we can look back and see the fulfillment of the sacrificial system in the life and finished work of Jesus the Messiah. So much has changed since David penned this psalm that it can be difficult for Christians to understand how to relate to and pray for Jewish people today. Throughout Israel’s history we’ve seen unspeakable suffering as well as God’s divine hand in creating peace in the most improbable situations. What can we make of this in light of the gospel?

Paul explains in Romans 11 that a partial hardening has come on the Jewish people as has happened many times throughout biblical history. We know that there will always be a remnant of believing Jews and that God will choose Israel again and heal their apostacy (Hosea 2:23; 14:4). The difference between this period of hardening and all others before Paul’s writing is that God has prepared this time for the gospel to be spread across the earth so that all who believe in Jesus will become co-heirs of the promises (Romans 11:11; Ephesians 3:6). So as Christians, we cannot have a callous attitude toward Jews and their suffering (Romans 11:18). Therefore, how can we appropriately pray for the Jewish people in Israel—and around the world—following the horrific events of October 7, 2023?

1. We should pray for God to comfort them in their grief and suffering as only he can do. Many families have lost loved ones, including small children. This form of tragedy can be unbearable without the mercies of God.

This is what the LORD says: A voice was heard in Ramah, a lament with bitter weeping– Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children because they are no more (Jeremiah 31:15).

2. We should pray for God to bring an end to terrorism by establishing justice in Israel and around the whole earth. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would bring this to pass, and we trust that Jesus will return to carry it to completion at his second coming.

The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:7).

3. We should pray that God will relieve their suffering and that through this time of affliction they will turn to trust in him. This was David’s own prayer in Psalm 25:

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and afflicted. The distresses of my heart increase; bring me out of my sufferings. Consider my affliction and trouble, and take away all my sins (Psalm 25:16-18).

4. We should pray that Jews will have peace with their neighbors, and also peace with God through our Lord Jesus (Romans 5:1-5). All good gifts come from our Father in heaven (James 1:17). We can trust that he will bring peace at the appointed time.

5. We should pray that they will become our brothers and sisters in the Messiah. Paul’s metaphor in Romans 11 is that the Jewish people temporarily cut off as natural branches will later be grafted back into the olive tree that represents God’s people through faith, joining the Gentiles grafted in from all nations. Our fervent desire is not only for the physical well-being of Jewish people, but also for their spiritual salvation.

In addition, we should pray for faithful Jewish believers and Messianic congregations sharing the gospel with others who may be more receptive during this time of great difficulty.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation (Romans 10:1)!

As Christians, we can and should pray for the Jewish people in more ways than one. We can trust that the Lord will bring about perfect peace, justice, and mercy. Let us encourage one another with these words.

This city will bear on My behalf a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, who will hear of all the good I will do for them. They will tremble with awe because of all the good and all the peace I will bring about for them. (Jeremiah 33:9)

Andrew Paul Ward

Andrew Paul Ward is an ABWE missionary to Togo, West Africa, sent from Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Andrew is the husband of Mary, father to Emmanuel, Cyrus, and Alethia. He holds a B.S. from Bob Jones University, an M.Div. from Temple Baptist Seminary, and an Ed.D. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Support Andrew’s ministry.