“Pray for the shalom of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.” (Psalm 122:6)
This Sunday (June 2) is Jerusalem Day or Yom Yerushalayim (יום ירושלים) in Hebrew, a national holiday in Israel. It commemorates the day on the Hebrew calendar when Israel recaptured Jerusalem.
As Israeli paratroopers and soldiers approached the Holy City, the commander of the brigade, Lt. General Mordechai Gur announced to his commanders:
“We’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City…”
After 2,000 years of Jewish exile and various foreign powers ruling over Jerusalem, Israeli Jewish paratroopers advanced through the Old City and seized control of the Temple Mount and Western Wall on June 7, 1967 (on the Gregorian calendar).
“The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!” shouted Commander Mordechai.
Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief chaplain of the Israeli Defense Forces, blew the shofar at the Western Wall to announce its liberation, just as the Jewish priests did upon a victorious battle in ancient Israel.
Since 1949 (during the first Israel-Arab war just one year after the rebirth of the Jewish nation), Jordan had occupied the Old City, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
But now, Israel and the Jewish people have regained rightful guardianship!
For the past 71 years, the nations of the world continuously try to tear Jerusalem into pieces, something God will put them on trial for at the end of the age (Joel 3:2 in English versions or Joel 4:2 in Hebrew versions of the Bible).
This age-old battle for God’s holy city is perhaps why Psalm 122 tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
But there are deeper reasons for this prayer.
Psalm 122 is a beautiful, poetic arrangement of Hebraic concepts connecting Jerusalem with prayer, peace, and security.
So, let’s look a little deeper at its words and get a better understanding of what God’s will is for our prayers toward His holy city:
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim
Pray (Sha’alu) — שַׁ֭אֲלוּ is derived from the root שאל, to ask.
This is written in verse 6 of Psalm 122 in the form of a command to the greater community: “You are all to ask.”
This is an enquiring of the Lord.
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges points to another translation written in the Greek Septuagint in the 3rd century BC:
“Ask now for Jerusalem the things which belong unto peace.”
They say that Yeshua (Jesus) may have had this verse on His mind as He approached Jerusalem and wept over it, using a similar phrase:
“If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41–42)
Yeshua longed with tears that the people of Jerusalem would come to Him, the thing that makes for true shalom. This is His heart cry for all who “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” both Jew and Gentile alike.
Yeshua gives true Biblical shalom (peace), which means security in His kingdom, wholeness as His children, and well-being in our souls.
That is what we want for all people on this earth, in every village, town, and city, but especially in the city where God has put His name—Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 6:6)
How do we pray for true Biblical shalom?
We can pray as Rabbi Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) did when he appealed to the Believers 2,000 years ago saying, “May God open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Messiah … Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:3–5)
This can bring the peace of Yeshua into everyone’s heart.
Jerusalem or Yeru-shalayim ירושלים is mentioned over 800 times throughout the Bible.
It is often called the city of peace.
In fact, the city’s very first mention in the Bible is of Salem (Genesis 14:18), which is spelled with the three Hebrew root letters שלם of shalom.
Some believe that Yerushalayim might also mean “the teaching of peace,” since Yeru could come from the same root as Torah (God’s law, direction or teaching) YRH (ירה), meaning teaching.
The ultimate teacher of peace is of course, Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom (שַׂר־שָׁלוֹם).
Here again, we find that Messiah Yeshua is one of the “things” that can bring peace to Jerusalem and the people who live there.
We can pray for opportunities to teach the values that Yeshua taught, since His way brings blessings to a nation.
As Paul also said, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)
Living as true disciples of Yeshua’s teachings is a powerful way to introduce others to the peace of Yeshua.
After all, every nation that has founded itself on Judeo-Christian values has become more prosperous, innovative, and free than those who haven’t.
And the world is in turn blessed through their peace, security, and Biblical values.
Peace or Shalom — שָׁלוֹם
A primary meaning of shalom is to be whole or complete, so we can glean from this psalm (and other Scriptures) that despite the world’s demands to break Jerusalem apart, God does not want His city in foreign hands or in broken pieces!
In order to fulfill Biblical Prophecy, Yeshua the King of the Jews, cannot return to a Muslim city based on Islam and the teachings of the so-called prophet Mohammed.
For this reason the victory of Israel in 1967, which made Jerusalem whole (shalom), was a prophetic victory signaling a time in which Jerusalem is being prepared to welcome it’s Messiah — King of Kings.
While speaking in Jerusalem, Yeshua referred to this day when He said, “You will not see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch Ha Ba b’Shem Adonai — Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23:39)
May those who love you be secure
Secure or shalah in Hebrew means to be at ease or still. Therefore, praying and declaring shalom for the Holy City of Shalom (Jerusalem), causes the intercessor to also experience a kind of well-being and wholeness.
Certainly, we also pray that the people living in Jerusalem experience an ease and stillness, which only comes from feeling secure.
While we are waiting for perfect shalom to arrive in the hearts and in the land of the Jewish people, we also pray in terms of physical security for Jerusalem today.
Israel is fighting not just for the safety and sovereignty of Jerusalem, but for the entire free world to have access to it.
Indeed, the 1967 reuniting of Jerusalem allowed the holy sites in the city to be accessible to worshippers of all faiths, which is a very important principle to the State of Israel.
More importantly, physical enemies (Arab enemy states) and spiritual enemies (evil spirits) continuously bombard her because the battle over Jerusalem is ultimately all about the coming Messiah!
When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, therefore, it is to include asking God to keep the city of Jerusalem in the sovereign control of the Jewish people so that they can welcome Messiah as prophesied In Zechariah 12–14.
This prophecy might be the next World War (III) in which God gathers all the nations against Jerusalem. It is described as a nuclear war in Zechariah chapter 14.
However, the glory of Messiah begins in chapter 12 where the Jewish people in Jerusalem will look upon Him, the one they’ve pierced, and mourn for him as they would for an only child. (Zechariah 12:10)
When Yeshua Messiah is seen by all the Jewish people coming on the clouds, He also comes for the whole world.
God has promised, “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)
He is “very jealous” for His City. (Zechariah 8:2)
As lovers of the Messianic King and Prince of Peace, we must do all we can to “enquire” of the Lord how we can stand with Him and help bring peace to Jerusalem.
As mentioned in this article, here are some specific things we can pray for:
- for God to open a door for us to clearly proclaim Messiah Yeshua,
- for the Jewish people to accept Yeshua as their Messiah and Savior,
- for opportunities to teach the values that Yeshua taught,
- for the Jewish people to remain in sovereign control of Jerusalem, and
- for peace in terms of physical security for the people of Jerusalem.
And we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us what other things will make for peace as we pray in the Spirit, until Yeshua arrives in Jerusalem!
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)