Six weeks ago, before the fresh outbreak of conflict in Israel and Gaza, my family and I had the immense privilege of going to Israel to explore the Holy Land. At the time, I was moved to praise by so many moments on that trip that reminded me of Jesus’ amazing life on earth. Little did I know that praise would soon also become a cry of lament for peace and mercy for those suffering the terrible tragedies and loss of human life that ensued.

Earlier this summer, it had been incredible to walk where Jesus walked, and the Bible stories had come alive in a new way as we stood in the same places mentioned in the word, and imagined all that took place: from the resurrection of Lazarus to the Sermon on the Mount. To look up at the desert cliffs by the Dead Sea and know that a piece of every part of the Old Testament has been found on scrolls in those caves was mind-blowing. Our God has marked the world with His presence, and seeing it strengthened us in our journey with Him.

I got to stand behind our kids in the garden tomb and watch them and digest the reality that Jesus had been laid there for just three days but He didn’t stay dead, He rose from the grave and is alive today. We stand on the same ground over two thousand years later and the gospel has not been stamped out and it will never be — the name of Jesus is still being preached and the church is growing throughout the world, and we get to play our part in that.

Since then, we have had reasons to weep and cry out in prayer for Israel and Gaza. I am devastated to think that just six weeks ago, I was with three generations of my family marvelling and walking where Jesus walked, and now it is a place of conflict, turmoil and unsurmountable grief. I am lost for words but it’s at times like this that I’m reminded by God’s word:


the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

Though our hearts break for those lands, God’s faithfulness gives us hope for the future. We remember that God’s plan is ultimately to bring peace and reconcile all things to Himself. And that as we bring our tears, laments and heart cries to our God He will answer our prayers.

When it feels like there is little we can do, let’s look around us and extend God’s compassion as we check on neighbours, reach out to our brothers and sisters in our community that have loved ones in these troubled lands, offering prayer and extending hospitality, comfort and a listening ear as Jesus did.

Who knows what the future brings? But we put our trust in Jesus.

Will you stand with us as we lift these nations in prayer and ask God to comfort those who mourn and to give mercy, justice and peace and to heal these troubled lands.

Our prayer director, Fred Drummond, has written this prayer for peace and mercy.