Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha’olam, shay-hekheyanu v’keeye’manu v’higi’anu la’zman ha’zeh!
“Blessed are you, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life and sustenance and brought us to arrive at this particular time!”
This Wednesday at sundown Israel begins celebration of her 70th birthday!
After 24-hours of solemn memorial for those who have fallen in our wars and as victims to terror, the nation will turn out for 70 hours of celebration at having reached this milestone in our history. There will be prayers of joy at the Western Wall, speeches, dances, parties on the beaches, innumerable picnics, overflights by the Israeli air-force—and what is billed to be the largest fireworks display in the nation’s 70-year history. You may taste a tiny bit of the spirit of the occasion with This Video. In it, some 12,000 Israelis (with our President Reuven Rivlin joining in!) hold forth in a special performance of a song by revered Israeli poet and composer Naomi Shemer, Al Kol Elei—“For All of These”: “Over the honey and the sting/Over the sweet and the bitter/And over our baby girl/Please guard my good Lord/Over the burning fire/Over the crystal clear water/And over the man who is coming home from afar/Over all these things/Please stand guard for me, my good God…Don’t uproot a sapling/ Don’t forget the hope…” The song ends with an ancient prayer (which doesn’t quite come through in the translation provided in the Youtube): Hashiveini v’Ashuva…el haAretz hatova—“Restore me and I will return…to the Land of Goodness!”
Please pray for Israel as she turns 70—For grace for our nation to be restored in spirit during this 70th year …that we will return to the God of our Fathers, to experience the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (Hosea 6:1; Psalm 81:19; Psalm 27:13).
PRAY FOR ANDREW BRUNSON
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)…Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested…” (Revelation 2:8-10)
“For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death, to declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD” (Psalm 102:19-21).
Exactly one year ago on 18 April 2017, we focused our Prayer Update on Andrew Brunson, the pastor in Izmir (ancient Smyrna), who has worked for more than 23 years as a missionary in Turkey, and who has been placed in prison for his faith under the false accusations of being a conspirator in the coup which attempted to bring down Islamic strong-man Recep Erdogan in 2016.
A year later, Andrew continues to languish in prison, even though many (including President Donald Trump) have sought his release. This past Monday, he went to trial on charges which could result in 35 years in prison. Besides the charges related to the coup, he is also accused of spreading the gospel in a predominantly Muslim country, an activity which appears to be being now viewed by the Islamist government as terrorism. After appearing on the stand on Monday, Pastor Andrew was placed in a different prison than that in which he has been held—in fact, he is now reportedly in a cell for eight persons, which contains 22. The trial will continue on May 7th. Thousands around the world are praying on his behalf. The Trump administration says it is continuing to fight for his release. On Monday Christians gathered outside the White House gates to protest his incarceration and to pray for his release.
* That Pastor Andrew be strengthened and sustained in spirit and body by the presence of His Lord Jesus—the One sent to set captives free—until his release; and that that release may come soon. “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6-7).
* That the God whose throne is righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14) will release confusion into the testimonies of those who are bringing false testimony against Andrew.
* In the name of Jesus/Yeshua and in the protection of His blood against any witchcraft which is set against Pastor Andrew. There is much active occult activity within the Islamic religion in Turkey.
* That Andrew’s plight will continue to be brought before the American President, and that he will receive God’s counsel in bringing pressure against the Turkish government on Andrew’s behalf.
* That Pastor Andrew’s wife Norine be strengthened and sustained, and given wisdom and words from God with which to encourage and strengthen her husband during the times she is allowed limited access to visit him.
* That Pastor Andrew be protected from depression and despair. Remember the ‘wearing down’ which occurred even to John the Baptizer (Matthew 11:2-3), who had announced the coming of the “Lamb of God who carries away the sin of the world!” That, as with Peter (Acts 12) and Paul and Silas (Acts 16), he would be granted Angel visitations and heavenly songs in the midst of the darkness.
* For physical and mental protection in his cell from physical violence and demonic assault. ““Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the souls of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. What would have been my plight—unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait in Hope on the LORD, Be Strong–and He will infuse courage into your heart, Wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27 11-14).
* That the Church and Prayer Room in Izmir over which Andrew is Pastor will be strengthened and unified in a deep way during this experience. That they—and all of us—will receive unction and insight from the Holy Spirit as to how to intercede on Andrew’s behalf.