Israel (MNN) — Israel and Gaza
resumed fighting after a brief break to rush aid into the civilian
populace. There are scattered reports of
a truce on the table, but so far, there has been no significant movement toward peace.
David Harder with SAT-7 says their
team is trying to encourage the believers who are trapped. "We've been
running crawls across the bottom of the screen urging our viewers to pray for
the situation, that there would be peace in Gaza and around Gaza where many
people are being killed. We've also
recorded prayers from some Christian leaders in the region."
Terence Ascott, SAT-7 CEO says, "What's happening right now is
particularly tragic for children in Gaza. In one of the prayers, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb of Bethlehem mentions
seeking God as a refuge. More than 50%
of the people living in Gaza are children or youth under the age of 17, but there
is simply no place available for them as a refuge…other than in the Lord. "
Aside from the programming that speaks
to kids and SAT-7 KIDS' continued work, prayer is a large part of the ministry
response. Ascott goes on to say, "We
feel that it's important for our viewing audience to see that Christians are
serious in believing that prayer can change situations, even ones as tragic and
serious as that transpiring in Gaza and Israel today."
A prayer offered
by the Rev. Dr. Mitri El Raheb of the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem reads:
"We pray to God for the women,
children, and the elderly people in Gaza who are suffering from a lack of
water and electricity and are under attack. We pray to God for real peace in this
land and for freedom for the Palestinian people. We also pray for the
politicians to have wisdom to seek peace not war.
"Christians in the West Bank pray day and night for the protection of the people
of Gaza–Christians and Muslims–during these difficult moments. We ask our
brothers across the world to join in prayer to put an end to this war. Jesus
Christ by His death and resurrection changed this land from being a land of war
to a land of peace and good news. We pray that He will do the same today in
Palestine and particularly in Gaza. God, you are our refuge, and to You all the
glory and power."
The Head of the Evangelical
Church in Egypt, Rev. Dr. Safwat El Bayadi added these thoughts:
"As we celebrate the birth of our
Lord Jesus Christ (celebrated in Egypt today on January 7), instead of hearing
hymns of peace, we hear the sound of jet fighters and tank shells in the
Promised Land–the land of peace. We appeal to the conscience of both sides and
to the global community and to all Peacemakers around the world to stop this
bloodshed and save the lives of innocent children.
"May peace prevail in the land where Jesus was born and may they accept the words
of the Savior of the world who commanded us to make peace. He said, "Blessed
are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God." We pray this
land will experience joy instead of tears."
Rev. Dr. Sameh Maurice of the Kas El Dobara Church in Egypt (the
largest Evangelical church in the Middle East) offered this:
"Dear God, as we celebrate
Christmas, our brothers in Gaza are suffering. Our brothers are under siege,
beaten, oppressed and unjustly treated. God, hear our prayers today. You are the
God of peace. You are the Lord of peace. You are the Peacemaker. God, stop
this human massacre in Gaza and have mercy on us. We ask this of You not only
as a church, but as a community of worldwide believers. Hear our prayers, for You are merciful and compassionate."
These prayers send the message to
the embattled remnant church: "You are not alone." Harder says, "It's important for the
wider community to see that Christians care about what's happening in that
region and are praying that a solution will be found, that the leaders will
have wisdom, that God will move."
Around 1,500 Arab Christians of
several denominations live among the approximate 1.5 million people who inhabit
the Gaza strip, though in recent times many have fled because of the increasing
instability and violence.
SAT-7 is still broadcasting the
Gospel via satellite television. Keep
praying that the peace of the Gospel will reach many during this time.