Christian leaders from different prayer movements met on the World Day of Prayer for Jerusalem on May 27 and May 28. Pentecost 2023, the Ascension Prayer Initiative, and the International Prayer Council met to launch Commitment 2033, an effort to reach the finish line of Jesus’s Great Commission. The goal is to reach every person with the message of the Gospel by 2033.

At Pentecost, a Christian coalition was invited to an International Day of Prayer in Jerusalem, near the Western Wall. The day of prayer began at 6:00 p.m. with the prayers of various believers from the Messianic Jewish community in Jerusalem, followed by a transition from the Sea of Galilee – two places that Jesus knew well during his earthly ministry and from which faith went out into all the world.

The coalition called on believers around the globe to pray for an hour for Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Furthermore, the gospel should “reach the ends of the earth, and communities of adoring disciples should arise everywhere.” 

Christian leaders also ushered in a decade of prayer and evangelism. The unprecedented unity of prayer and evangelism sparked protests from Orthodox Jews. They protested against “Christian missionaries.” Orthodox Jews protested the text on the website: “Based on the conviction that salvation must first come to the Jews.” Then follows the call to pray, “for Jerusalem and the Jewish people worldwide,” “with the desire for the salvation not only of Israel, but of the whole world”.

A sign of God’s Blessing

The southern steps of the temple have a special meaning for the faithful. This is where the apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and most likely it was the mikveh pools located there where the 3,000 people were baptized and the number of believers increased.

The next morning there were about 850 people on the steps when 300 had been expected. Shortly thereafter, it started to rain. Rain on this day is actually completely out of the question. There was great joy among the locals. “I was told that this was seen as a divine sign of blessing,” recalls Werner Nachtigal, founder of the GO Movement. “Then the power went out. This meant that we had no lights, no screens, and no public address system. But despite the power outage, we were able to continue broadcasting,” says Nachtigal, describing a situation that can simply be described as a miracle.

Christians are welcome

And the demonstrators did not have the last word: The Israeli Foreign Ministry reacted to the demonstrations and, according to the Jerusalem Post, declared that it “condemns any violation of religious freedom and any violence against religious officials in the city. The State of Israel considers freedom of religion and worship in Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, to be a central value for life in the city.”

Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, condemned “today’s demonstration against  our Christian Zionist friends who have come to support our country and our eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

And the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also explained that “the undeniable Jewish connection to the holy city must never justify excluding others from practicing their own faith and expressing their heritage”.