Pray with Us! – March 2024

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Shalom from Jerusalem,

It has now been nearly five months since Hamas’ brutal surprise attack on Israel in which the lives of around 1,200 innocent people, most of them civilians, were tragically cut short in one day. In the months since, this number tragically continues to rise. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, Israelis are looking for a bright spot in the ongoing tragedy and stress of war.

That might come this month in the form of Purim, a holiday which celebrates the triumph of the Jewish people against the threat of extermination thousands of years ago through the bravery of a young woman. The story of Purim, told in the Biblical book of Esther, is read in synagogues throughout the world on this day as the Jewish people celebrate victory against the odds and remember God’s promises to His people.

Just like Esther, you may have been placed where you are for just “such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) In the echo of these words, we invite you to partner with us in prayer for God’s Land and His people for the coming month of March.

PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR:

“Swords of Iron” – Civilians

“For all the land you are looking at, I will give to you and to your seed forever.” Genesis 13:15

This month, a growing number of reserve duty IDF soldiers are being released and returning to their ordinary lives outside of the army. On the one hand, this is a huge blessing for their families and for the economy – and of course for them. On the other hand, it is not easy to return to a set routine from before the war after nearly five months of 24/7 combat and stress. (There are many many reserve soldiers who remain on the front lines, despite the exhaustion, financial stress and families waiting at home.)

Additionally, political tension is growing throughout Israel, with not only calls for the hostages’ return but also for a change of government. Ad campaigns throughout Israel call for national elections and new government. Regardless of the justification, the calls for election are divisive at a time when Israel has enough problems to face.

Although many throughout the world seem to have forgotten the hostages, there are still 134 innocent individuals being held in horrendous conditions by a brutal terror organization. Testimonies from survivors provide first-hand witness to the inhumanity and abuse experienced by those remaining in Gaza. For their families, every day is torture. It is time to bring them home!

Please pray for:

  • The release of ALL the hostages held by Hamas and for supernatural protection over them in captivity. For the physical and emotional recovery of the released hostages.
  • For reserve-duty soldiers as they return to their civilian lives and for strength for those who have not yet been released.
  • Stability and endurance for Israel’s economy
  • Displaced Israelis as they deal with a wide range of challenges from PTSD to financial instability.
  • Those suffering from PTSD, either from the October 7th massacre and current conflict or from Israel’s previous wars.
  • Comfort for the families of Israel's fallen and hope for those whose loved ones are among those taken hostage by Hamas.
  • Hope for all the people of Israel as the war continues and the price Israel pays for its security continues to rise.

Purim 2024

Purim this year is an especially relevant holiday, which celebrates the events described in the Book of Esther. Once again, Israel finds itself facing an enemy whose goal is Israel’s destruction – and the destruction of the Jewish people. As Israelis this year listen to the Book of Esther, bring gifts to friends, family and those and need, and more, the holiday will take on an additional level of meaning.

With Purim occurring during Ramadan this year, there is also an added security risk which Israeli families will unfortunately need to consider.

Please pray for:

  • Spiritual and emotional renewal for those who are hurting and for all of the people of Israel to draw closer to the God of Israel this Purim.
  • For a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people in times of threat and war.
  • For a joyful holiday despite ongoing challenges.
  • For God’s protection over those celebrating in Israel and throughout the world, especially in light of Ramadan.

“Swords of Iron” – Soldiers and Security

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Psalm 144:1

“He looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

This year on the 10th of March, Muslims around the world begin observing the yearly month of fasting, Ramadan. For Jewish Israelis in general and security forces specifically, this is a time of increased awareness since the month of fasting traditionally brings with it increased violence and often terror attacks. This year, with the ongoing war in Gaza, the war of attrition in the north and growing unrest in Judea and Samaria, the concern is especially acute.

Meanwhile, on Israel’s northern border, tensions and uncertainty continue. The tit-for-tat game with Hizballah remains steady, while international actors attempt to orchestrate a diplomatic solution. Sadly, it remains possible for Israel to be deep in an existential war within the year.

IDF soldiers have now been fighting a ruthless enemy for close to five months and on many fronts. Many have lost close friends or relatives and long months of combat remain ahead of them. They continue to need prayer for strength and stamina as they face this difficult reality one day at a time, knowing that each one could be their last.

Please pray for:

  • Protection over Israel's security forces fighting by land, air and sea.
  • Emotional and mental renewal for soldiers fighting in Gaza and northern Israel.
  • The success of Israel’s current military objectives in Gaza and beyond.
  • Healing for injured soldiers and soldiers suffering from PTSD.
  • For deterrence against Iran and Hizballah and for stability and calm in Judea and Samaria.
  • A long-term solution to terrorism in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and Lebanon
  • Revival in Iran and in all the Middle East, that people would come to know the God of Israel!
  • That the Lord would fight this war with and for His people!

“Swords of Iron” – Leaders and Government

“A king’s heart is like water in the hand of the LORD.” – Proverbs 21:1

As dissatisfaction with the current government grows, so too does the national call for elections. Regardless of whether this call is justified, it is important to maintain national unity in the midst of a national crisis, such as the one Israel continues to face.

Both political and military leaders continue to face tremendous pressure to return the hostages, destroy Hamas, support displaced civilians, defend Israel’s international image and prevent the expansion of the current war.

As in the above verse, we remember that ultimately it is the LORD who is in charge and we pray for his wisdom to be on Israel’s leaders during this time.

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom for Israel’s military and political leaders during this complex and difficult time.
  • Unity within the government.
  • That the LORD would work through Israel’s leaders during this time.

The International Front of “Swords of Iron”

“The kings of earth set themselves up and rulers conspire together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.” Psalms 2:1

There have been numerous examples in recent weeks of discrimination against Israelis, notably against Israeli athletes, for their nationality. These range from the Irish women’s basketball team’s refusal to shake hands with Israeli competitors to a call from French lawmakers to ban the Israeli flag and anthem in the Olympics. This BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) trend is sadly growing in many other areas as well.

Additionally, Israel is experiencing over the last month increasing criticisms from its allies in Europe and North America. The peak of this trend so far was a proposal submitted recently by the US to the Security Council which calls for ceasefire in Gaza, albeit in softer terms than used by Israel’s traditional critics. For Hamas to release the hostages, it is critical for support of Israel to remain unwavering!

Please pray for:

  • Continued international support of Israel, including continued grassroots support.
  • International pressure on Hamas to unconditionally release all hostages.
  • Continued diplomatic and military support of the war from Israel’s allies abroad.
  • God’s protection and blessing over the many individuals working to defend Israel internationally.
  • The world’s eyes to be opened to the truth of who Hamas is.

The Growth of Anti-Semitism

“I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!” – Romans 11:1

Comparing Israel to the Nazis has shockingly become a common phenomenon in recent weeks. Although familiar in the context of extreme pro-Palestinian rhetoric from before October 7th, in the world of after 10/7, even heads of state have publicly used this horrifying anti-Semitic trope.

This rhetoric comes alongside an increase in violent attacks against Jews in nearly every Western country. The rise in anti-Semitism comes specifically after October 7th – as though a major act of vicious anti-Semitism gave petty anti-Semites the courage to take action.

It is paramount to counteract this worrying trend wherever and whenever it crops up, including in insidious comments about Israel – such as comparing the Jewish state to the Nazis.

Please pray for:

  • For protection over Israelis and Jews throughout the world
  • For peoples’ eyes to be opened to the real and serious threat posed by anti-Semitism
  • For a wave of Aliyah to Israel in the face of growing anti-Semitism
HFI Prayer Requests:

We continue to prayerfully seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to implement a renewed vision amid a tragic and costly war.

Please join us in praying for:

Moran

Moran continues to be completely devoted to the ministry’s emergency response efforts since the war broke out. He is busy each day in the field, providing support for those we have evacuated from the north & south of Israel; ensuring that the evacuated families have what they need; visiting injured soldiers & providing support for their families; and delivering aid to anyone who is in need.

He also continues to oversee the ministry’s Israel advocacy & information project, as it is crucial for people to receive reliable information out of Israel right now. His personal social media platforms are constantly bombarded with hatred and anti-Israel propaganda attacks, which can be exhausting to confront.

Please continue to pray for:

  • Wisdom regarding the various aspects of the ministry that he oversees.
  • Strength & wisdom as he provides support for friends & families who have lost their loved ones in the war, all the while dealing with personal loss related to the war.
  • Strength, wisdom, protection & health during this intense time.
  • Guidance and inspiration as he writes his weekly Scripture commentaries.
  • Peace during this difficult season.

HFI Staff & Board Members

Please pray for:

  • Blessing over our staff & board members who devote time and energy to executing our vision for the ministry
  • Protection over their families while they serve
  • Wisdom for the board members as they make decisions that impact the ministry in tangible ways
  • Our US representative Bill Katz as he drives and flies thousands of miles every week to speak on behalf of Hope for Israel, for health & traveling mercies, protection over his wife and daughter while he is traveling, and for fruitful meetings and speaking engagements. Please pray for protection over Bill during this period as anti-Semitism continues to grow throughout the world.

Threefold Vision for Empowering the Future Generation of Believers

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom for the staff as they continue this year’s program.
  • Unity in the hearts of the team
  • More staff and volunteer counsellors in our NerYah and soldiers’ programs.

NerYah Youth Group:

This month we discussed the subject of sin and the war against the flesh. It’s a difficult subject to digest but important. We believe that the believing youth listened and received tools for their daily walk.

We continue to have believing teens come to our office to spend time with us, to discuss life and faith, and to have fun. We are touched that they feel comfortable and want to come and talk to us.

Even though we are able to serve fewer youth right now due to our lack of leadership staff, the young believers continue to come and remain connected to the group. They truly love NerYah, and it is encouraging to see growth and fruit in our relationships with them.

Please pray for/that:

  • One of our leaders who recently left the staff to draft to the IDF. Please pray for protection over him during this period.
  • Our long-time NerYah coordinator, Ro’i, was released this week after nearly five months of reserve duty in the war. Please pray for his readjustment to civilian life and to NerYah. We thank him for his service and thank God for His protection over Ro’i during a challenging period!
  • An additional male leader to join our counseling staff and in general for more leaders, boys and girls. Unfortunately, we are forced to limit the size of our NerYah meetings at the moment due to a lack of counselors.

Believing Soldiers:

This month we hosted a forum and get-together for believers who are currently serving in active or reserve duty in the IDF during the war. It was encouraging and touching to see the soldiers and there are many testimonies from them! For the second half of the forum we treated them to lunch at a nice restaurant and gave them all gift cards.

Here are two testimonies we received from the believing soldiers:

“Thank God for your ministry!”

“Emuna and HFI Team, thank you so much for the gift! Shabbat Shalom.”

Please pray for:

  • Protection and peace for all our soldiers, especially those on the front lines but also those who work in support positions. Please pray that God would touch them during this time and give them strength and comfort.
  • Soldiers who have lost friends and colleagues in the fighting, that God would meet them where they’re at and give them the strength to keep going and trusting Him.
  • For leaders, male and female, who truly care and believe in the importance of investing in soldiers during their service.
  • Wisdom for our team to know how to encourage and support the soldiers during this time.

Post-Military & University Students

Many of our students and released soldiers have spent the last months serving in reserve duty in the IDF, some of them while continuing to study. For others, their lives and plans were put on hold for months as they served their country. This month, we have begun to see many reserve-duty soldiers returning home safely to their families and routines, which often include university. We thank God for his protection over them and their families during this difficult season!

With that said, there are still several students or released soldiers serving in reserve duty. Please continue to pray for strength and protection for them!

For students and released soldiers, please pray for:

  • For strength and grace for the students, many of whom are beginning – or already in the thick of – their end of term exams.
  • God’s grace and blessing on students and released soldiers who are returning to “normalcy” after months of grueling service. For emotional, mental and physical recovery during the coming period of adjustment and for accessible resources for those who need additional support.
  • For wisdom for us to know how to support students and released soldiers as they transition back from military service to studies and civilian life.
  • For students who have recently switched from virtual studies to in-person learning, which takes some adjustment, especially during exam season.
  • The families where husbands/fathers were called to reserve duty leaving a wife and children at home. That those called to reserves would return home safely and for strength for them and their spouses.

HFI Media Projects

During a period when Israel is not only fighting a physical war but diplomatic and public pressures and fake news as well, we see our work in media to be doubly important! Thank you for your continued support of our work in this area and your continued prayers! If you are not already subscribed to our mailing list, you can do so via the following link: Join - Hope for Israel (hope4israel.org)

We are currently in the process of finding a suitable candidate to replace our social media manager, who recently left the ministry. An additional staff member from our media team will also soon be exiting her role on maternity leave. During this time of war, staffing changes are especially challenging and we would appreciate your prayers that the right individuals would join our team!

Please pray for:

  • A new social media manager and content creator
  • Wisdom to manage attacks against our platforms and content and for the cessation of such attacks.
  • Strength and wisdom for our media team as they continue to produce new content for our website, email and social media, especially during the current war.
  • Insight and wisdom to offer fact-based and Scripture-based answers to those who oppose Israel; that God would use our content to change peoples’ hearts and minds!
  • A video crew that we can work with in Israel to generate new content.
  • Creating a grassroots movement of Israel advocacy via YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Informative & interesting articles and other original material that will educate our audience and encourage their support of Israel now and always.
  • Insight and efficiency in updating our website and messaging; that God would provide the right website designer.

Tours

One of the main objectives of our tour operation is to cover ministry overhead, so that a higher percentage of donations can go to projects. Due to the war, all our groups through September have either cancelled or rescheduled for 2025, leaving the tour operation without any income for the foreseeable future. This has been a very challenging and, at times, stressful logistical operation.

Please continue to pray for:

  • wisdom for Moran & Melissa as they face challenging decisions regarding the tour operations in light of the current war.
  • open doors for “Foosteps of the Apostle Paul” tours to other countries of the Mediterranean region (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, etc.)

Ministry Finances

God has been so faithful in providing for the ministry's operating and project costs! We ask that you pray that He will continue to do so, and that we will be able to bless more Israelis than ever!

In His Service,
The Hope for Israel Prayer Team

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