With Gaza evacuated, eyes turn toward Jerusalem.

By August 25, 2005

Israel (MNN)–With the Gaza pullout completed, the big question is how to avoid a civil war. Now comes the hard part–actively pursuing peace.

Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s Erich Bridges says peace is yet to be determined, which leaves believers in a tenuous position for new ministry.

“Depending on how that plays out, Palestinian Christians may or may not be able to continue what they’ve been doing,” he says, “but they certainly hope that they can continue.”

Now there’s the question of what will happen over Jerusalem, the refugees, the wall and secure borders. The land, he adds, is a place where many people have hopes and dreams invested.

So, “We’re fooling ourselves if we think that political peace is coming any time soon. It’s not. But, peace can come through Christ. Our workers are laboring to share Christ with everyone on all sides.”

Urgent prayer needs include the Messianic Jewish believers. They number in the thousands, according to estimates, but still face persecution in some areas.

Pray for Gaza and the West Bank. IMB workers hope that new freedoms will be used for “the right things — and not just more oppression of the Palestinian people by other Palestinians.”

Pray for real religious freedom among Israelis and Palestinians. Bridges says, “If they’re free to choose and they really search for the truth, we know where the truth lies and that’s in Jesus.”

And finally, pray for the disillusioned and despairing Jewish settlers. Many have had their lives completely disrupted. If they feel God didn’t work things out the way they thought, Bridges urges prayer so that “they would look to see who God really is and open their hearts and minds to Jesus when they see He is Truth.”

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