The terrible violence that broke out Saturday, 7 October 2023, with the massive attack by Hamas on southern Israel, has brought grief, pain, fear and panic to Israeli and Palestinian families. We grieve for all innocent people who lost their lives.
What people are experiencing
After the attacks, The Bible Society in Israel posted a message on its website that likely mirrors the feelings of so many Israelis: “We are in shock, angry, in mourning,” the message said.
“In a few short hours, hundreds of lives were snuffed out, women, men, children, elderly. Several thousand were wounded, over a hundred were taken hostage. More than three thousand rockets were fired into the southern half of the country. There is not a family in the country that has not lost a family member or a friend.”
“May the present war, and the weakening of confidence in the government and military and intelligence leaders bring many Jews in Israel and in the dispersion to look for their help not from the hills, but from the Maker of Heaven and Earth,” said one Christian in Israel who is a friend of Open Doors. “And may many Arabs do the same.”
A Christian father from Gaza shared on Monday morning after the attack: “My family and I feel fear and anxiety due to the heavy bombardments, and we feel that the house will fall. It’s a permanent earthquake. We try to hug our children and relieve them of fear and terror, and many times we can’t from the force of the strikes.
“Currently, we live in a difficult situation in Gaza and incomprehensible, as we don’t know what is coming… all we see, hear and feel is war… explosions and destruction everywhere and the screaming of children from the intensity of the bombing. There is a strong fear of what is coming as there is no safe place in Gaza,” he continued.
The man is one of about 800 Palestinian Christians of different Christian denominations in Gaza. The churches in Gaza cancelled all their services due to the current war and the bombings of the Israeli air force.
Palestinian Christians in the West Bank did have their church services. “We prayed for peace and justice in the Holy Land,” a Christian from Bethlehem said.
In this complex, ongoing situation, Open Doors calls Christians around the world to pray for the people of Israel and Palestine.
How to pray
The Christian in Gaza asks: “We pray that love and peace will prevail in our country, and I ask for a prayer for God’s protection over my family and our home, that the war will end quickly, and that the Lord will meet all needs, especially at this time, and that we be can be the light in the middle of this total darkness and reflect the light and love of Christ in Gaza.” Please join him in this prayer.
Christians in Israel similarly ask for peace and protection and to be able to shine the light of Christ in an area that is so significant in Jesus’s ministry on earth and the history of our faith.
The Bible Society in Israel asks: “More than ever, we need your prayers. Prayers for those who mourn. Prayers for God to use this tragic event to cause people to seek God about their own eternal destiny.”
Pray for an end to all violence and injustice in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Pray for the Church to be a beacon of hope for the people around through their testimony in words and actions.
Pray that the Lord will comfort those who have lost loved ones or are waiting to hear about missing family and friends.
Pray also that the international community will work towards lasting peace in the Holy Land.