(Pictured left to right: Joshua Fund founder Joel C. Rosenberg; Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz; Pastor Ronnie Floyd, President of the National Day of Prayer and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention; Rev. Munir Kakish, pastor of a Palestinian congregation in Ramallah and Chairman of the Palestinian Evangelical Council; his wife, Sharon Kakish; Israeli believer Shirya Yahav; and her husband, Daniel Yahav, pastor of an Israeli congregation in Tiberius.)
(Jerusalem, Israel) — We’re in the midst of a long, hot summer in the Epicenter. Tensions are running high between Israelis and Palestinians this summer from a range of reasons. Among them:
- Bitter disagreements over whether Israel’s 70th anniversary is a good thing or bad
- Two entirely different views of President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
- Widely divergent views of whether the U.S.-designed peace plan — still released — will be fair and which side it will benefit
- Growing despair in Gaza
- Utter chaos in Syria
- Iranian efforts to spark one regional conflict after another , from Gaza to Yemen.
In recent weeks, hundreds of rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. Israeli forces have retaliated. Now there is talk that a major ground war in Gaza may not be far off. Let’s hope not — but those are the rumors swirling here.
In that context, it seemed to my Joshua Fund colleagues and me more important than ever to bring Israeli and Palestinian followers of Jesus together with Christians from all over the world to pray together for the peace of Jerusalem and the peace of all the people in the region, as well as to pray for the advancement of the Gospel. That’s why we organized the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit. We were so encouraged that over 800 Christians — including people from nearly every continent — attended.
Here are excerpts from local Israeli media coverage of the event.
By Cliff Kelly, Kehila News Israel
Speakers included Bible teacher and evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, pastor Ronnie Floyd and pastors and leaders of local believing Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian Arab ministries, all of whom shared personal insights, prayer requests and calls for unity among the brethren in the land.
Local worship leader Sheli Myers led a group of singers and musicians in praise and worship.
THE POWER OF UNITY
The Joshua Fund founder and best selling author, Joel C. Rosenberg, opened the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit by welcoming attendees from Israel, Palestine and around the world.
“We are famously commanded to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ and so we shall,” Rosenberg told the Summit attendees in his opening remarks. “But what exactly does this mean? …How do make sure not to simply pray for one group who live here to the exclusion of the others? How can we encourage one another to pray for Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, and for all who live in the Epicenter?
“This is exactly what this Summit is for — learning to pray for all the souls of this extraordinary city and region, from Scripture, with real faces before us, and with purpose and great power.”
Rosenberg amplified the Summit theme the next morning, presenting a teaching entitled, The Power of Unity: What the Church in the Epicenter Must Learn from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, based on Jesus’ prayer recounted in John 17….
PRAYER IS HARD
Each of the Summit’s keynote messages focused on a prayer in scripture which helped demonstrate, in Rosenberg’s words, “how you and I can be praying for the church and the people in the epicenter with clarity and specificity.” On Wednesday evening, Lotz began with a teaching on the prophet, Daniel’s prayer of Daniel 9:3-19.
“As God looks at the world today and His eye goes to and fro,” Lotz said. “And He sees His people who are called by His name, does He wonder that there are not more of us praying on behalf of His people in this city and this land?
“Prayer is hard work,” she told her audience. “If prayer is hard for you, it’s because prayer is hard, okay? One of the things that helps me is if I can find a model prayer in scripture after which I can pattern my prayers… Daniel was a man who prayed so powerfully and so effectively that God answered his prayer and a nation was changed.”
CONVICTION, BOLDNESS AND ASSURANCE
Floyd began the Summit on Thursday morning by asking, “How and what shall the church pray?” then answered by saying that our prayers must be rendered with conviction, boldness and the assurance that God will answer.
“Stop being content in living life and doing ministries without the power of God,” Floyd implored pastors in the audience. “Pray!”
Local Jewish and Arab believers offered teachings, testimony and contributions to several panel discussions. Video and audio playback and downloads of many sessions are available online at epicenterconference.com.
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