Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gaining a Blessing by Praying for Peace

Jerusalem viewed from Mount Scopus

I don't know if this ever happens to you or not, but the Bible study I'm doing now just didn't hit my hungry spot today. I started flipped through the Bible to find something more filling and landed in Psalm 122. 

You probably recognize the first verse. "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" (Ps. 122:1) 

The verse that caught my attention and took me back to my time in the Middle East a few months ago was, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." (vs. 6)

For the first time, I realized that this psalm of David actually includes the prayer we are to pray for Jerusalem. In God's amazing way, the intercession for Jerusalem also gives a blessing for the ones who love her. 

Here are the words David instructed us to pray on behalf of Jerusalem:

"May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls.
And prosperity within your palaces." 
Psalm 122:6-7 nasb

This tiny scrap of land, less than 0.5 square miles in size, still houses more than 40,000 residents. It's divided into four quarters. (Muslim quarter, Christian quarter, Armenian quarter, and the Jewish quarter) Each quarter has a distinctive flavor consistent with the residents who reside and work there. 

It's filled wall-to-wall with shops of all kinds, color, and a cacophony of different languages. Shopkeepers often stand at the doors of their shops, hawking their wares to people passing by. The aromas of spices and food cooking fills the air. 

The sights and sounds and smells merge into an experience of sensory overload that's wonderful and heart-breaking.

Jesus walked the streets of old Jerusalem, and you can still see the stones on which He walked. The Via Delorosa, the path that led from his trial to his cross, is still laid out for the pilgrim who wants to literally travel His path of travail.

Old Jerusalem is a walled city within a bustling city of skyscrapers and the most modern technology. Ancient and modern exist side by side. More than 800,000 people live in "new" Jerusalem. It's a beautiful city. 

One evening, we sat at outdoor tables and listened to street musicians while we ate gelato and watched the bustle of people passing by. It was one of those moments, carved out at the end of a busy day, when peace, for a few moments, prevailed. 

I thought about David's words that evening. Peace within her walls... Neither the old city nor the new one has reached that pinnacle of delight, but one day... 

For thousands of years, people have prayed as David instructed and, miraculously, the city still stands. Today, why not join me in praying for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, both the old and new cities. Pray for the lasting peace that only God can give.

While you're at it, why not ask God to plant love for His city deep in your heart so that you, too, might enjoy the blessings of those who love her.

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