Lessons learned during the Second Intifada
Either the wave of knifing attacks in Jerusalem have slowed or we’re desensitizing. The atmosphere in the city has felt lighter, though it is still wise to be watchful. Many of the attacks this past week seemed to be outside Jerusalem.
Contributor Rick Ridings spoke last week at Succat Hallel about living through the Second Intifada in the early 2000s. He shared lessons that we all should take to heart, especially as we see an increase worldwide in violence, terrorism and persecution of those who follow the God of Israel and His Messiah.
1. Dress for battle each morning
As I mentioned previously, one doesn’t leave the house without putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). I will admit it was much easier the first few days, when the threat was fresh. Toward the end of this week, I found myself remembering to pray just after I’d walked out my door.
I put on the the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of His righteousness. I gird myself in His truth. I shoe my feet in the preparation of the gospel of peace. I shield myself with His faithfulness. I carry the sword of the Spirit, His holy name and word.
Rick also mentioned praying Psalm 91. It certainly reads like a pre-battle pep talk a general would give his troops.
Rick reminded us to pray a hedge of protection over loved ones, both near and far.
2. When you the feel greatest attack, go on offensive.
We’re talking in a spiritual sense here, always remembering that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.“
Rick said that when we feel the spiritual heaviness and oppression, we should advance in the spirit. We should not only survive but take territory.
Ramadan, as an example is an especially spiritually heavy time in Jerusalem. The Muslims are praying and fasting for a month. The air is thick with their worship and supplication.
It is in this time, Rick said, that we should really pray for revelation of Jesus, pray for spiritual territory and fulfillment of God’s promises.
For a moment, as Rick spoke, I thought I understood the difficult passage of Matthew 11:12: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
3. Realize the intercessors do make a difference through prayer and fasting.
Sometimes we say, “Well, at least I can pray.” Perhaps prayer is the most we can do.
For some reason, we talk ourselves out of believing prayer really does something. We see results but maybe we think they’re too subtle. Maybe we want Hollywood special effects when God often works in small quiet ways.
Shaping History Through Prayer And Fasting by Derek Prince has been recommended to me. I’m ashamed to say I have yet to read it.
4. Find brothers and sisters to stand with you through the battle.
Rick pointed out that before the spiritual battle instructions of Ephesians 6, Paul teaches about relationships in Ephesians 4, 5 and into 6.
Nobody is an army of one (I hated that slogan, U.S. Army).
I’m thankful for a best friend available at a moment’s notice, for a co-laborer that understands the pressures of living for God in this crazy city, for a small church in Wales that I know prays for me daily, for my ever-supportive parents back in Texas.
5. Find the table that He is preparing for you in the midst of your enemies. (Psalm 23)
God is so in control that he can throw a picnic for his kids in midst of battle, Rick said. Also, every army has R&R for their troops during war time.
He encouraged us to be built back up by God in worship, in Shabbat and to not feel guilty at relaxing with friends.
6. Invest into training troops of the next generation.
Succat Hallel, the house of prayer run by Rick and his wife Patti, has a prayer time run by 10- to 13-year-olds. They play the music and decide what to pray for. Right now, Rick said, they pray mainly for the children among the Syrian refugees.
7. Keep pursuing the One Thing. Look at Him.
I loved when I was full time at the house of prayer because looking at Him was the primary thing. Writing and study came easy after hours of just worshiping our great King.
Even devout, committed Christians in ministry sometimes look down on those in full-time prayer ministry. Our Protestant work ethic says prayer is not enough. We are so many Marthas looking down on the Marys quietly sitting at Yeshua’s feet.
Now I work for a church. It is sometimes very dry. It is hard to look at Him. Why is that?
Rick closed the night by reading from Psalm 27.
By David: 1 Adonai is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? Adonai is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting.
4 Just one thing have I asked of Adonai; only this will I seek: to live in the house of Adonai all the days of my life, to see the beauty of Adonai and visit in his temple. 5 For he will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock. 6 Then my head will be lifted up above my surrounding foes, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, sing praises to Adonai.
7 Listen, Adonai, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me. 8 “My heart said of you, ‘Seek my face.’” Your face, Adonai, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, don’t turn your servant away in anger. You are my help; don’t abandon me; don’t leave me, God my savior. 10 Even though my father and mother have left me, Adonai will care for me. 11 Teach me your way, Adonai; lead me on a level path because of my enemies — 12 don’t give me up to the whims of my foes; for false witnesses have risen against me, also those who are breathing violence.
13 If I hadn’t believed that I would see Adonai’s goodness in the land of the living, . . .14 Put your hope in Adonai, be strong, and let your heart take courage! Yes, put your hope in Adonai!
Cover photo by Paul Kitchener/Flickr (CC)