When President Donald Trump arrived in Jerusalem for Israel’s 50th anniversary, Friends of Zion had billboards erected around the city declaring, “Trump, Make Israel Great” and “Trump is a Friend of Zion.” Little did anyone realize how much this president would do for Israel. Not only did he recognize Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, but he also shut down the PLO office in Washington, stopped the funding of the PA through the Taylor Force Act, and closed the consul in Jerusalem. He has now removed the anti-Israel declaration calling Judea and Samaria Bible lands “settlements,” with the announcement from the U.S. State Department that it will no longer use the term “settlements” to describe Judea and Samaria, a term employed by the UN.
Most Christians or Jews in America grew up reading the Bible that recounted the history of Judea and Samaria. They read of Hebron (Kiriath Arba) where Abraham purchased land in which to bury his wife Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as Rebekah and Leah, were also buried there. It was David’s first capital where he was also anointed as king.
Bethel is a place name often found in the Bible. It was the site where Jacob dreamed of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. It is in the heart of what is called the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria.
Why is this a big deal? Because it has, for thousands of years, been Bible land. It was never illegal. The promises read by Christians and Jews were that God gave it to Israel and called it an “eternal covenant.” Regrettably, Jew-haters are able to use the land to mobilize support in their favor, resulting in the loss of life for thousands of Jewish people for no reason other than they were Jews and wanted to live in the Bible land. The United Nations refers to this as “occupied territory” and demands that Israel relinquishes it.
Among the most powerful groups in the United States are the pro-Israel Evangelicals and the Orthodox Jewish community, which consider these Bible lands, not “settlements.” They also believe the promise to Abraham from Genesis 12:3: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Harry S. Truman is in history books for one reason above all; he recognized the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948. Donald Trump continues to make history. For both Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians, Trump is fulfilling prophecy and paving the way for the coming of the Messiah.
Bible-believing evangelicals consider the support of Israel a biblical mandate. Regardless of contrary opinion, we do not believe Israel has to offer an excuse for its existence. Israel lives today as a right! A right that has been hallowed by the Bible, by history, by sacrifice, by prayer, and by the yearning for peace!
“I will restore the captivity of my people, Israel…I will plant them in their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land, which I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15).
We believe one of the reasons America has been blessed over the years is because we have stood with Israel. This promise is taken from Genesis 12:3: ‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ And so, for biblical reasons, first and foremost, we support the State of Israel. For humanitarian reasons, we support the Jewish people. For historical reasons, we believe that the Bible land belongs to the Jewish people.
Israel and the United States are not separate and distinct; we are one. We share common ideals and common democracy. What unites us across the ocean and brings Jew and Christian together is the recognition that Israel is a nation that is a manifestation of what America was and is.
America has a strong interest in the Middle East. We believe that the nation of Israel is the key to that interest because of our common bonds, our common values, our common beliefs in social justice, and the godly principles on which our two countries were founded. Israel is the firewall between radical Islam and the West.
Prayer is as essential as air and water if we are to maintain a spiritual life of constant contact with God. If we don’t make that connection, no matter how sincere our intentions, we will not see a change in the circumstances of our life. We must pray! James 4:2 tells us: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask” (emphasis mine).
During a dark hour of Israel’s history, the Assyrians demanded heavy tribute from King Hezekiah. In response, Hezekiah stripped the Temple of its gold and silver in order to meet that demand. Still, that was not enough; the Assyrians mounted an attack against the city. When King Hezekiah was informed in a letter from the king of Assyria that Israel would be destroyed if the demands were not met, he took the letter to the Temple. There, in the presence of God, he spread the letter on the altar and prayed:
O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone. —2 Kings 19:15–16, 19
God answered the king’s prayer with an overwhelming victory! The Bible says the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. In great gratitude for God’s mercy, Hezekiah cleansed, repaired, and reopened the Temple of God. Worship to Jehovah was restored, daily sacrifices were resumed, and the Passover Feast was again celebrated by the nation of Israel.
Years earlier, when King Solomon had prayed at the dedication of the Temple, God revealed himself and His plan to Solomon with great power:
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” —2 Chronicles 7:12–16
Isaiah encouraged the Israelites with: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9). King Solomon prophesied that a national revival would come to Israel. It has yet to occur, but when that renewal does come, it will certainly be through the power of prayer. You and I can help usher in that renewal through prayer.
Prayer is an essential part of the life of a Believer. But just what is prayer? It has been described by some as practicing the presence of God. By others, it is defined as the abandonment of self-reliance and the admission of our need for and our total confidence in Jehovah. We humble ourselves, let our petitions rise heavenward, and release our faith and hope in almighty God. Through prayer, mere man can touch the heart of God.
When you have a great need in your life, circle it with prayer. What does that mean and how is it accomplished? It is a metaphorical circle that allows you to focus on a particular need or needs according to Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Prayer is not an attempt to manipulate God into our way of thinking. It is not trite, repetitious, ritualistic, or showy.
Author and pastor Dr. Paul Chappell defines prayer this way: “Prayer is not a show nor a ritual. Prayer is you speaking directly to the Creator of the world about your deepest needs, desires, and burdens. It’s expressing your thankfulness for His goodness. It’s your privilege and honor as a believer.”
In the Old Testament, God uses one of the most captivating images in the Bible, a watchman. What does that have to do with prayer? How can we learn about prayer by studying the watchman? The prophet Ezekiel delivers a cautionary word of warning from Jehovah in chapter 3, verse 17: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.”
In chapter 33, Jehovah repeats His instructions to the prophet. The metaphor is drawn from the earliest days of agricultural societies when posts were erected overlooking crops to provide a tower for a watchman. The towers were designed to offer a view of thieves—man or animal—who would ransack the ripening harvests. For many, the harvest was a matter of life and death, of having food for the coming winter or starving. The men who were appointed as watchmen were crucial to the survival of his village. The same was true of cities.
During times of impending attacks, watchmen would scour the horizon for invaders and then sound the warning to alert inhabitants to approaching danger. The city gates would be closed and barred, and defenders would take their positions on the battlements. Just as a watchman warned the people of a coming enemy and was, therefore, the first line of defense, intercessory prayer warriors are the first line of spiritual defense for our nation and our communities.
What happens when the watchmen fail to do their jobs? The prophet Ezekiel gives us insight: “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood” (Ezekiel 33:6). A watchman cannot be apathetic; indifference will suffocate our faith. It must be replaced by steadfast prayer in order to revive our spiritual lives. Nothing is more important to God than prayer! God will do nothing without prayer. It is the fuel that moves the engine of humanity.
When people ask me how I’m doing, I respond, “I am blessed and highly favored. I’m the most blessed man I know.” Now please understand that these blessings and favor are not the result of me being something special; it’s all about God. The amazing favor is on my life because of a covenant I cut with God almost 60 years ago…and His faithfulness to keep His promises.
I was just 11 years old the night my father strangled me and left me for dead in our home. I awoke in both literal and figurative darkness. There was no hope…no possible way out…no chance of even surviving, let alone being blessed. Then Jesus came! Everything changed that night as I listened to His voice.
Have you been in a place of complete darkness and despair? Maybe you or someone you love is in that place today. I know what it feels like because I was there. But when I claimed God’s promises, everything changed.
We have accomplished unprecedented things for God through our ministry together, but that is not because of us…it is ALL the favor of God. We’ve seen truly unprecedented blessings like the largest prayer movement in history, now more than 68,000,000 strong. There has never been a Christian ministry with the level of influence with the leadership of Israel that God has given us.
It is all about Him, and He alone deserves all the praise and glory. But we get to be part of His work. And today I’m asking you to join hands with me in a special way and claim this promise of Jesus: “If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs” (Matthew 10:41).
I am inviting you to enter into a covenant of blessing with me. Just as God’s favor has been released on my life, I have heard a voice in my spirit that declares that same favor will flow to my partners who join me in agreement. What I sense in my spirit is that your life is about to be transformed by the power of God’s favor because of your love and care for His Chosen People. When you bless what God wants to have blessed, you turn His head and move His arm to action in your life.
Every day of my life I wear a F.O.G. (Favor of God) wristband as a reminder to myself to expect God to do great things and to seek His face. That favor is not just for me. It is for every Believer who will step forward in faithful obedience. The favor of God will change every part of your life—every area and sphere of influence that you have. Principalities and powers will be bound and your assignment from God will know favor and blessing as never before. Your family, your church, your business, your health…these are going to be amazing as God hears our voices and responds to our faith.
Though God has allowed me to travel to Israel numerous times and spend the last 40 years defending His Chosen People, meeting with leaders from around the world and having the privilege of being a friend and confidant of Israel’s prime ministers, I can truly say that this ministry entered a new phase of effectiveness and favor in 2012. That was the year we purchased the first building of what has now become the Friends of Zion Center campus. That beautiful five-story building is now home to the Friends of Zion Museum, the first Christian museum in Israel.
When it became apparent to me that we were taking a major ministry step, I realized we were going to need a board of directors specifically for the Friends of Zion outreach. After a great deal of prayer and with a reliance on God’s direction, I did something completely crazy and with no hope of success. I reached out to Shimon Peres, who was nearing the end of his term as Israel’s ninth president (in Israel the president can only serve one seven-year term).
This giant of a man was the last of Israel’s founding fathers—the courageous souls who defied the odds and called a nation back to life. There was no earthly reason to think that a Jewish president would join hands with an evangelical Christian ministry…but we are not on an earthly mission. We are carrying out a heavenly mandate! And when God truly leads you to do something, no matter how unlikely it seems, He brings it to pass.
President Peres immediately agreed to serve as chairman of the international board for Friends of Zion. This astonishing measure of God’s favor gave us so many amazing open doors. Shimon Peres was not just our chairman; he became our champion. He used his influence and personal credibility to open doors for us to begin to influence the world as never before.
President Peres had several favorite sayings. One of them was, “Count the number of dreams you have and compare them with the number of achievements you’ve had. If you have more dreams than achievements, then you are still young.” Shimon Peres was still young when he died at 93 years of age!
President Peres told me more than once that he considered me as part of his family. My mother’s family came from the same small town in what is now Belarus that his family was from. Though Shimon and his parents made their way to Israel before World War II started, he told me that every member of his extended family who remained behind perished during the Holocaust. The shared tragedy in our family trees knit our hearts together in a powerful way.
In the summer of 1942, soldiers from the German SS advanced through Poland slaughtering Jews at every turn in an effort to clear the area of inhabitants, making way for the planned resettlement of Germans returning from abroad to take up residence under the Third Reich. On August 30, the soldiers arrived in Vishnyeva. Twelve hundred Jews perished in Vishnyeva that day. Almost all of them were at least distantly related to either Shimon Peres or to me, and that is why he said that we were family.