Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible; more than any other city. Babylon, the second most mentioned city, has only 286 scriptural occurrences. If references to the ‘city of David’ and ‘Zion’ are included, Jerusalem is mentioned over 1000 times. The word occurs more times in the KJV than the words ‘sin’, ‘grace’ or ‘faith’. Evidently, if we are interested in the Bible, we must be interested in Jerusalem. Likewise, if God wrote the Bible then He must be interested in Jerusalem too. In fact, if we search the scriptures we find that God is more passionate about Jerusalem than any other city. In Isaiah 62:1, He says,
For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. (NKJV)
In Zechariah 8:2, He says,
‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal;
With great fervor I am zealous for her.’ (NKJV)
In Luke 19:41 we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. It is the place where He died, where He was raised from death, where He ascended, where He poured out the Holy Spirit, and to which He said that He would return and live with mankind forever. If God is so passionate about Jerusalem, and we want to draw near to His heart, we ought to be asking Him why He cares so much about this city, and if He would help us to care about it too.
It is clear from the Bible that God has a plan for the city of Jerusalem and that He wants us to play a part in seeing His plan fulfilled. The modern state of Israel has had its share of conflicts in its short and troubled history, and Jerusalem has seen more conflict than maybe any other city. Our first focus is to pray for peace. But peace means more than just an end of conflict. The ultimate peace that Jerusalem and Israel needs is the peace that was declared to the shepherds by the host of angels in Luke 2:14 that was from God towards men. As in Isaiah 62, we pray for righteousness and salvation in Israel and Jerusalem.
Here are some brief points for prayer:
- Pray for peace and protection. (Psalm 122:6; Psalm 83:1-5,18; Psalm 121:4; Zecheriah 2:5)
- Pray for restoration and healing. (Jeremiah 30:17-18; Isaiah 61:4; Amos 9:11; Isaiah 51:3)
- Pray for reconciliation and forgiveness. (Romans 11:18; Ephesians 2:15; 1 Peter 4:8)
- Pray for wise leaders and just government. (Proverbs 21:1; James 3:17; Proverbs 14:34; Mark 3:24; Isaiah 9:6-7)
- Pray for believers and salvation. (Isaiah 44:3-5; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Joel 2:28; Ephesians 3:16-19; Romans 11:25-27)