Friday, July 3, 2009

Blessing Israel, 8th Anniversary of Israelprayer

August will mark my 8th year of preparing the Weekly Summary of Prayer Requests from Israeli Ministries. I became a member of a Messianic congregation in 1992, so I have been learning 'what's what' for almost two decades. Here is where all that exposure to things-Messianic led me.

Israelprayer was born in 2001. The previous year I worked for a major American Jewish Christian ministry and saw firsthand how Christians who love Israel literally gave millions of dollars each year in an outpouring of generous hearts toward Israel.

It bothered me that while this ministry blessed unbelievers in Israel, it did not contribute to the indigenous community of Israeli ministries who struggled in hard circumstances.

Working there, the visual I had of that ministry was as if it were a dam blocking the flow of a river of Christian donations from reaching the Lord’s harvest fields of Israel.
I struggled with that.

In my heart, I believe God has stirred up such a generous spirit in the heart of Christians for Israel "for such a time as this" for the purpose of blessing those and funding those, who are the Israeli witnesses of the Good News of Messiah to Israelis. Part of their testimony is to bestow the wealth of Christian generosity in the name of Yeshua/Jesus as they reach out to meet the needs of their communities.

There are many ways to bless Israel, but the highest form and purest understanding of the Lord’s heart is blessing those and through those who are carrying the salvation of Israel as their primary vision from the Lord. As Isaiah 52:7 said of these spiritual family members,

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims Yeshua (salvation),
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

It is one thing to stand united with Israel but it is another thing to stand with the Israeli ministries and congregations who are reaching out to their neighbors and friends throughout Israel with the testimony and power of Yeshua, who is Israel’s true and only Hope. There is no other door to Salvation even to Jews, and no other source of peace for Israel, but the reign of the Prince of Peace in the hearts of Jews and Arabs of the region.

A gathering of some of the indigenous Israeli Ministry leaders in 2003

So, in August of 2001 I resigned from that ministry, got a non-ministry job and started Israel Prayer. I began by compiling the prayer requests of Israeli ministries I was aware of - mostly the Israeli ministries associated with the Messianic congregation I attended. A small team of us began to meet each week to pray over the requests.

I wanted to reach out to more Israeli ministries and began to research and compile information about all the ministries I could find in Israel. I signed up for as many prayer letters as I could find. Sometimes our team would prayer over 20 pages of prayer letter requests!

After a year I set up a web site, – to be “A connecting bridge for the Church to the Israeli body of Messiah” and “To make known to the Church the urgent prayer needs of the Israeli believing community.” Year by year we have added subscribers to the mailing list until we now have people from all parts of the country and many nations praying in agreement with the Israeli ministries. (You can read more of the story here.)

The driving force behind is the revelation I first began to receive in 1991 of the Romans 15:27 indebtedness of the Church to materially support the Israeli Body of Messiah. Paul wrote,

“For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them (Israeli Body of Messiah) in material things.”

As I have read the Scripture over the years since that initial revelation of our duty, the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to what an important and even critical emphasis the apostle Paul put on that truth. In Paul’s eyes its importance extended to the point of delivering himself into imprisonment in Jerusalem. This was the price he was willing to pay in order to model for us the necessity of carrying ministry support from the Churches to the elders – or ministry leaders - in Israel.

The Church contributions were not sent to the Israeli government leaders, nor the rabbis at the Temple, but were carried directly to the leaders of the Israeli believing ministries for the purpose of supporting the local community of believers and for the forwarding of the gospel in Israel.

This revelation has been my passion…and it has also been my sorrow as I have seen Christian generosity for Israel diverted from the Israeli laborers in the harvest fields to lesser blessings of Israel. Christians are giving millions times millions into Israel for everything from political support to planting trees with only a minuscule percentage reaching the indigenous ministries who are witnesses to the power of Yeshua’s salvation in the lives of Israeli Jews. Just being a “righteous Gentile” will not get many Israelis saved.

Consider that one popular Jewish “Fellowship” raises 78 million dollars annually from Christians to fund needs in Israel and none of that ever benefits the believer community or Israeli Jewish ministries. The Jewish Christian ministry I once worked for averaged an income of around 7 million annually for its programs but rarely – if ever – donated to Israeli ministries. That is quite a gap - 7 to 78 million, but it is an even greater gap for actual Israeli ministries. Perhaps the most well-funded of all the indigenous Israeli ministries has an annual income of only 2.6 million – but that is far above almost all of their fellow Israeli ministries.

If Christians sending donations to the famous rabbi’s fellowship only knew how much more spiritual return their donations would reap if the flow of their generosity only reached Israeli believer ministries instead. It makes me sad, but I believe a day is coming when that dam will give way to the will of God and the river of blessing will flow.

1 comment:

midspoint said...

I agree, there are no coincidences when it comes to God connecting members of His Body!! ;)
Sooo happy you found me after all this time and I can follow your blogs and be a part of your ministry. I have longed to find a way to give to "Israel"...and you are so right: what better way than to those who minister Yeshua to His Own.
Baruch atem b'Shem, Yeshua,