by Rector Jim Murphy
At first blush, you may be tempted to think, “Why pray for Jerusalem’s peace, we’re hurting here with rank division and violence at every turn, we need peace right here in the good old USA!” And you would be correct. A thorough-going peace in our country is a prerequisite for order, civility, and truth. Peace is a scarce and precious state of being in 21st century America. Nevertheless, we are called by God in his Word to prioritize Israel’s peace, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 122:8, ESV) Why?
There are three principal reasons to pray for Jerusalem’s peace. The first reason is that our Creator-Father has chosen her for the place that his name would dwell forever. Jerusalem (a.k.a., Zion) is God’s sovereignly chosen location, that is, the home-town for his name, (i.e., his character, his reputation, his peace,) to dwell. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem because he has chosen her and therefore calls us to our knees on behalf of her peace. King Solomon, in 2 Chronicles 6:6, announces the selection of the holy city to the nation of Israel assembled therein as his name’s abode.
The second reason to pray for Zion’s peace is that all of mankind benefits from Jerusalem enjoying peace. King Darius, the heretofore pagan ruler of Persia understood this principle, outlined in Psalm 122. Darius came to recognize Israel’s God as the only true God. In Ezra chapter 6 he issued a decree that basically protected Zion’s reestablishment and provided for Jerusalem’s peace and tranquility. The Arab-King of Persia commanded all the world to take care of Zion because in taking care of her, the world was providing for their own peace.
Finally, the third reason that we are called upon to pray for Jerusalem’s peace is because of he who is the Prince of Peace, spoken of in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus the Christ is the subject and fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. It is Jesus who is the epitome and embodiment of Peace. Indeed, he is the one and only grantor and guarantor of everlasting Peace. Every other type of peace pales in comparison to the thorough-going peace that only God himself brings. According to John 14, it’s a peace that the world cannot give. Therefore, it makes sense to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, for Jesus the Prince of Peace, that he would come and forge an everlasting peace for all who accept it, him.
There is a renewed hatred for Jerusalem and Israel, for God and what he has chosen, in our day. The varied acts of terrorism that we witness every day, a.k.a., the absence of Peace, is directly related to the lack of Jerusalem’s total peace. Let us commit to obedience in following the recommendation of the Bible, to “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” It will be better for everyone.