Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are mounting after the kidnappings and murders of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian teen last week. Israel launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, killing seven Hamas members and two civilians, which the Israeli military said was in response to rockets fired from the Palestinian territory, but which Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called a “grave escalation.” He added that Israel would “pay the price.” The Christian Science Monitor reports that there is “considerable concern that the tensions … could boil into a full-blown conflict.”
The situation is a call to prayer, and the following articles and ideas may help give you a starting point.
“Praying for ‘perfect peace’ ” indicates that the key to this prayer is in keeping our minds stayed on God, in keeping “our minds so filled with the goodness of God that there is no room for anything else. In doing so, we recognize that there is no other power, no intelligence apart from God. No matter what human situation we perceive—whether we’re seeing strife on an interpersonal or international level—a mind filled with spiritual goodness is at peace.”
“Prayer—a game-changer in times of conflict” shows specifically how our prayers can make a healing difference in places across the globe. The article acknowledges that it is ultimately God, divine Love, that resolves conflicts; that divine Love is everywhere; and that “Love is not only a permanent power, but the only true power; that every man, woman, and child is part of God’s family.”
And “An ‘Abigail approach’ for Israel and Palestine” shows how the humble Bible figure of Abigail can be a model for any one of us, especially those on either side of the conflict, in quieting a thirst for vengeance with forgiveness and brotherly love. As we pray for those on both sides of the conflict, our prayers make us like Abigail in that we are actively forwarding peace.
Our prayers are not about pleading for specific changes on the human scene, but prayer that draws close to God, that is so full of an awareness of God’s infinite, unbounded love for all humanity, is a prayer of peace. We can trust such prayers to make a difference.