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Christians pray for ‘peace of Jerusalem’ around country



Christian prayer for Israel in South Africa has become more fervent since the 7 October massacre, and participation is increasing on and offline.

Some gather in person to pray, others do so in WhatsApp prayer groups, but they are all standing with the Jewish community and praying for “the peace of Jerusalem”, as scripture instructs, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may those who love you be secure.” (Psalm 122:6).

A prayer meeting in the upper room of the Mount Zion Prayer Hill building on the Beula Park International Conference Resource and Prayer Centre premises in Meadowdale last Wednesday, 14 February, was one of those in-person gatherings.

Said the centre’s founder, Dr Nico Landman, “We’re commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The word of G-d says that we stand as watchmen on the walls of the city. I’ve posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent, day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest.” (Isaiah 62:6)

Landman said he believed Jerusalem was already a miracle city. When he had visited the city on numerous occasions and “stood at its gates”, as in Psalm 122:2 – “Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem” – and looked down its streets, he had seen layers of time and a beautiful story which defied human limitations and prejudice. He believes Jerusalem is the “epicentre of the world”.

Bedfordview worship leader Chris Pretorius, who is also a designer and musician, said he lived in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in Johannesburg, and considered his family to be a part of the immediate community.

“This is a peaceful neighbourhood, and it’s a joy to see Orthodox Jews walking to and from temple as families every week,” he said. “As Christians, we share the Jewish people’s history. We study, follow, and consider Abraham, Moses, Elijah and all the prophets, and believe this to be our heritage as well. We know that G-d will never forsake Israel, and therefore neither should we.

“We pray for all involved and for all the innocent people, including children, who have been brought into the skirmish and impacted by the tyranny. We pray for peace in the region, for Israel and Palestinians alike.”

Pro-Israel Sowetan resident Thando Magopeni said that he had fallen in love with Israel through his friend, photographer and tour guide Ilan Ossendryver, and had visited Israel about four years ago. He stayed in Ra’anana with a Jewish family with whom he had built a strong connection by, for example, experiencing the “spirit of Shabbat”.

His first thoughts after 7 October were concern for the family in Ra’anana and their children. “I pray for the situation in the Middle East because I don’t want any children to suffer,” Magopeni said.

Emma Kubeka, a domestic worker for a Jewish family, speaks with a zeal about Israel, saying that when she first heard about the 7 October attacks, she was traumatised as it hit close to home. Through her relationship with the local Jewish community, she has learned to cherish the feasts and traditions, which she believes are the origins of her own faith, and has been kept updated on the situation in the local community and Middle East.

“We pray for peace in Jerusalem because we understand where it all started,” Kubeka said. “G-d chose Abraham and his descendants, and as Christians, we believe that by the grace given through Jesus Christ, he allowed us to enter into this blessing. The scriptures say that when we bless Israel, we’re blessed.”

To pray for Israel, she and other Christians of different denominations get together on WhatsApp voice-call meetings. Such prayer meetings are common in the Christian community as they are an easy way to meet frequently.

Also employed by a Jewish family, Sima Zondi said she had a strong affiliation with the Jewish community. She and her friends meet regularly through WhatsApp voice calls in addition to their weekly Saturday meetings as the congregation of The Twelve Apostles Church to lift Israel up in prayer.

Deborah Mafujane from His Light Shines Ministries believes it’s her mandate as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to pray for Jerusalem. “The war that’s underway has deeply affected me – seeing how innocent people are being horrifically abused and murdered. The events have awakened me to the times and season we’re in, and made me realise that we who are standing with Israel might also endure persecution,” she said.

Though she hasn’t been to Israel, she’s still hoping to go. “Each time I read the word of G-d, I build up my own pictures, and this connects me to the birthplace and life of our Lord Jesus. It makes me look forward to being there one day. Israel is the apple of G-d’s eye, and what hurts it has deeply touched the heart of G-d, and thereby affected us. We continue to pray for Israel, guided by Psalm 122:6.”

At last Wednesday’s prayer meeting at Mount Zion Prayer Hill, Landman echoed the belief of many – that only G-d can bring peace and reconciliation to the land of Israel, which is why it’s important to stand in unity in prayer. He and his team are working on a manifesto for Jerusalem with specific prayer points to release to the many prayer groups in South Africa as a way to facilitate unity.

Speaking on behalf of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies at the prayer meeting, the head of communications, Charisse Zeifert, said, “We’re appreciative of the support of our Christian friends. The love for Israel in the upper room at Mount Zion Prayer Hill was palpable. It’s important that our friends show solidarity at this time, and that there’s more than one narrative out there.”

“Jewish people have already faced dark times. The Holocaust was something that never should have been allowed to happen,” Pretorius said. “To see the Jewish people recover from such tyranny only to have to go through a similar occurrence again isn’t right.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jeffrey Blankfort

    Mar 1, 2024 at 4:09 am

    Where were these lovers of Israel when that country was the biggest supporters of South African apartheid? And for those who were not yet born before Mandela was freed–having been described as a “terrorist” by the powerful US Jewish Anti-Defamation League–it seems they had gone to Christian schools where they learned nothing. And obviously, South African Christians, like US Christians, that there is no more hated figure among religious Jews than Jesus, who was the best of them all. But those Jews who revered him, Jews for Jesus, were hated more than the Palestinians were apparently hounded out of existence,

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