In the Bible, Israel is called the “apple of God’s eye” (Zech. 2:8), His “firstborn son”(Exod. 4:22, Hos. 11:1), His “wife” (Isa. 54:5-6). In the New Testament,God calls Israel “beloved for the father’s sake” and a people whose gifts and callings will never be rejected or disregarded by God:
“As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs ...” (Rom. 11:28-29).
Yes, at times Israel has gone astray and God has had to discipline them,just as He foretold in Deuteronomy 28 and confirmed through many of His prophets. The nearly two millennia of diaspora between the first and the twentieth centuries was an expression of that discipline. But with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land, the history and the fate of the Jewish people has changed dramatically – forever: God is restoring His favor to Zion (Ps. 102:13). He is restoring His people. He is beginning to fulfill His promises – all His good promises! As all the Old Testament prophets have foretold, and as Jesus himself has confirmed:
“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed” (Rom. 15:8).
Living in these “times of restoration” (Acts 3:19-21), we as Christians worldwide are called to rejoice in God’s work of Israel’s restoration and to pray for Israel and the Jewish people in the spirit of God’s love, God’s favor and God’s wonderful promises for His people. In this brief guideline, I would like to point out six biblical topics for prayer and intercession regarding Israel and then add one more very important topic – the 6 + 1 – also relating to Israel, but from a significantly different angle.