AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER – 2014 PRAYER JOURNEY
- JOIN US ON A PRAYER JOURNEY IN 2014 TO ARMENIA AND SOUTH EAST TURKEY
- REPORT ON JERUSALEM HIGHWAY 2013 PRAYER JOURNEY TO ISRAEL
JOIN US ON A PRAYER JOURNEY IN 2014 TO ARMENIA AND SOUTH EAST TURKEY
Come and pray in ancient lands. Join the AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK and CHI-MINISTRIES on a PRAYER JOURNEY to ARMENIA and SOUTH EAST TURKEY: 6 – 21 September 2014.
ARMENIA – THE FIRST CHRISTIAN NATION
Pray for the Armenian people
Armenia was the first sovereign nation to adopt Christianity in 301. Tradition traces their church history to the preaching of two of the 12 Apostles. More than ancient monasteries, the lasting impression travellers speak of is the gracious welcome of this humble and easy-going people.
Understand their history and culture
With the spread of Islam this Christian people have faced a troubled history, forced from their ancient homelands across Anatolia. In the few years after 1915 an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished under Ottoman rule. Armenia claim it as a genocide; Turkey strenuously denies this.
Visit spectacular world heritage sites
We’ll visit monasteries and churches all across Armenia including the Tatev Monastery by taking the longest aerial tramway in the world, that spans 5.7 kilometres across the spectacular Vorotan River Gorge. Another highlight will be the cave church at the Geghard Monastery.
SE TURKEY – MT ARARAT TO ANTIOCH
Pray for Turks, Kurds and Assyrians
Modern Turkey is home to 80 million people, including around 15 million Kurds who mainly live in the South East. The region is also home to minority Christian groups like the Syriac-speaking Assyrians. Their ancestors have lived in this part of the Fertile Crescent since the dawn of civilisation.
Discover ancient Biblical places
Mt Ararat and story of Noah’s Ark… Harran, home to Abraham’s family on their journey from Ur… Travel the ancient Assyrian Highway between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers… Antioch, the base for the Apostle
Paul’s ministry exploits… Edessa, the early church centre acclaimed for mission and learning…
An epic adventure the length of Turkey
All across Turkey we’ll visit several Christian sites including the active Assyrian/Syriac monasteries of Mor Gabriel and Deyr ul Zaferan. Many Armenian churches across Turkey lie empty. We’ll visit the ghost city of Ani and the Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island out on Lake Van.
JOIN US TO PRAY IN ARMENIA & SE TURKEY and ask God to bring peace and justice to these peoples as they approach the 100th anniversary of the horrific events that began on 24thApril 1915. The day before the ANZACS landed at Gallipoli the Turkish rulers began their campaign to clear their lands of Christian minority peoples including the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.
Visit www.chiministries.comto download our colour brochure that includes the full itinerary, application form and other details.
Source: CHI Ministries and APN
REPORT ON JERUSALEM HIGHWAY 2013 PRAYER JOURNEY TO ISRAEL
For those of you who have been following the progress of our Un-Lock North Africa prayer campaign from Gibraltar to Jerusalem, you’ll be aware that we have recently completed the assignment in Israel a couple of months ago. You can download the full colour headline report for this prayer journey to read at your leisure by clicking: http://www.vocations4life.com.au/images/jerusalem_highway_2013_report.pdf. Otherwise here follows the extracted text.
While leading a strategic prayer journey in Spain, Ben Gray was led by the Holy Spirit to make a detour to Gibraltar. Looking out across the Strait he saw lights twinkling in the distance. He thought to himself that must
be Morocco. Immediately the Lord spoke to him, “You’ll go there one day.” With that prompt in mind he took a few people on an exploratory tour in 2005.
Within hours of landing as he was travelling along the road to Fes, God gave him an Isaiah 62:10 mandate to “unlock the ancient doors and re-build the highway of righteousness from Gibraltar to Jerusalem.” This was the genesis of the Un-Lock North Africa strategic prayer campaign that has now seen Australian teams visit all five nations of North Africa, three Mediterranean gateway nations and the Holy Land. From 2007 to 2013 they have prayed their way through Morocco, Gibraltar, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Malta, Istanbul, Algeria and now Israel.
Many were surprised in 2011 when tiny Tunisia ignited a desire among Arab youth for justice and good government. As the fires of protest took hold, strongmen dictators have been cast down. The Lord spoke to the team in 2009 that, “Tunisia would be the thin end of the wedge.” We need to look beyond the media headlines and ask God what He is doing.
What follows is a headline report of their most recent journey to Jerusalem and its strategic gateway cities in September and October of 2013. A full detailed report is to be released soon and will be available for limited distribution due to the covert nature of their ongoing work equipping the church in the region.
Already, God is revealing details of their next prayer assignment to Armenia & SE Turkey in 2014.
AN ANZAC CALLING TO FIGHT FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Throughout our prayer campaign across North Africa we have honoured the ANZACs (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) who lay down their lives to defend and liberate the region from oppressive rule. This has been particularly poignant in regard to halting the Nazis’ breakthrough into Palestine in WWII at El Alamein. Evidence has come to light in recent times that Hitler had made a pact with the Grand Mufti (the chief Islamic leader) of Jerusalem to implement the Final Solution to destroy the Jews in the Holy Land.
The ANZACs were also the decisive factor in liberating Israel from centuries of Muslim rule in 1915. Against all the odds, the audacious assault of 800 Light Horse troops charging Turkish artillery at Beersheba opened the way for Jerusalem to be handed over one month later without a single shot being fired!
Our assignment fittingly began at Beersheba with a commissioning of our team of 44 prayer warriors. Beersheba has a more ancient history as ‘the place where the Bible began’. Abraham lived most of his life here. He dug its famous well and named the place. You can read the story in Genesis chapter 21.
Being at this ancient site in the Negev Desert it was clear how much faith it took to dig the deepest well in Israel (to this day). Tapping into the hidden life-giving waters 70m below this barren land echoes his
spiritual destiny to be the Father of Faith in the unseen God, Yahweh.
“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to ALL Abraham’s offspring-NOT ONLY to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” Romans 4:16
At this site we blessed all of Abraham’s offspring, both in the natural under law (the sons of Hagar, Sarah and Keturah) and his spiritual offspring, the sons and daughters of faith who believe in Jesus Christ. We cried out to God for PEACE IN ABRAHAM’S HOUSEHOLD!
Also, as Beersheba is Jerusalem’s southern gateway city and it had been the key to unlocking the Holy City 100 years ago, we prayed for watchmen to stand guard protecting this Patriarchal gate. The Patriarchs Highway runs due north from here all the way to Nazareth roughly along the modern Route 60.
A few days later as we travelled on this highway through the West Bank (Biblical Samaria) a huge rock was flung at our bus. The spiritual contention of this route was palpable. In the region of Bethel, overlooking Ramallah, we were able to pray for stones to be removed and heavenly gates to be opened according to our mandate scriptures:
“Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.” Isaiah 62:10
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Psalm 24:9
Further up the road in Shiloh the atmosphere was different, like a Christian retreat centre!
OUR WELCOME AND MINISTRY IN JERUSALEM
We were warmly welcomed by Rick Ridings of Succat Hallel, a 24-7 worship and prayer ministry that overlook Mt Zion and the Old City of Jerusalem. Together with the City of David Prayer Centre, both ministries spoke of God’s leading for them to focus prayer around Isaiah 62:10 & Isaiah 19:23-25. Little did they know, these were the key scriptures for our prayer assignment.
On the evening of Sunday 29th September we held a special celebration of the journey across North Africa from Gibraltar to Jerusalem. Prophetically, Rick cut a ribbon to symbolically declare open the highway we’d prayed along. A local young man rightly discerned that our journey was not finished (as you’ll see below) but it was significant to mark our arrival in Jerusalem and the completion of this particular phase.
Earlier that day we had conducted a powerful time of worship and intercessory prayer for the Jewish people just outside the city walls on Mt Zion. We blessed the Jewish roots of the church that had carried the good news from Jerusalem (Romans 10:12-19). We prayed that Jews today would be provoked to jealousy and anger by other peoples who loved and obeyed the Lord (vs 19) around them and within their nation, particularly Muslim Background Believers (MBBs). The team made strong intercession as cheerleaders for the whole cohort of the Jewish Remnant to complete the race and win the prize (1 Co. 9:24-25). Isolation and rejection have plagued this people throughout their long history. We asked that they would see that they belong in the ‘one new man’ and we also prayed for Jew-Gentile ministry partnerships to increase.
“But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our MOTHER.” Galatians 4:26
We concluded our time on Mt Zion by blessing our Mother, the New Jerusalem and calling for the PEACE of JERUSALEM to be made complete. Having already a few days earlier blessed Abraham as the Father of our faith (see above), we reflected on the beginning and the end of this long journey to salvation that we are a part of. We praised Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, and the Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6) and Capstone (Acts 4: 11) of the spiritual temple, that we as living stones are being built into. Calling for right alignment of
each priestly stone and the unity of His Church, we asked for the fullness of his presence to dwell and shine among us.
A week later on October 6th our team joined with around 500 people to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ). This initiative, run by Robert Stearns and Jack Hayford, has seen hundreds of millions of people around the world commit to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6) on the first Sunday in October each year. The DPPJ has been running for over a decade and it was a privilege to support it. The Jerusalem prayer event we attended was televised around the world and featured Jewish dignitaries like its Deputy Mayor. Ben Gray was invited to lead prayer from the platform and our Aussie group made up about 10% of the in-house audience. For more information visit www.daytopray.com
LOOKING THROUGH THE 19-25 WINDOW
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along
with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.’” Isaiah 19:23-25
The prophet Isaiah employs the highway metaphor to symbolise a way of holiness that is prepared by God for His people to come to Him, and also particularly in chapter 19 it speaks of His people coming together to worship Him as one. Highways reconcile and unite communities and we even say that they provide ‘good communications’.
The 19-25 Window is a prophetic perspective on this geo-ethnic corridor in the Middle East, which regards the descendants of the sons of Abraham who together are called to be a blessing in the midst of the earth. It is from this prophetic vantage point that we need to reference the events that occur within this window of destiny.
Much of the church has neglected to discern the season that we are in. Many commentators are drawn to focus on the battlefield of Armageddon. Standing on the ancient site of Megiddo our team proclaimed, “The HARVESTFIELD comes before the BATTLEFIELD!” The Day of Judgement will come in a time chosen by God but we are tasked to proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favour. For anyone who has stood on this spot they could not miss the fertile fields below in the Jezreel Valley. While we were there, the fields were literally white to harvest (John 4:35) being full of cotton. Jezreel is a corruption of the Hebrew Yizre’el that literally means the Lord sows. Now is the time to cry out for workers to reap this great harvest! We repented for not regularly following our Lord’s instruction in Matthew 9:37-38 and asked the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the harvest field.
The 19-25 Window changes the age-old narrative of perpetual conflict in the Middle East. Most believers do not have faith that we will see peace there until Christ comes. But surely shouldn’t the Church be a beacon of light that reflects the hope that we profess in the coming Kingdom? Christ’s body can’t be divided if the world is to believe that the Father has sent the Son (John 17:21). Our brothers and sisters in the Middle East must not be forgotten. We have a duty to support them and to pray that they will be a light in the darkness.
If we can put aside any defeatist thoughts and the hopeless story that endlessly repeats itself via the modern media cycle, and instead take up the sword of scripture to believe our God is able to win hearts and minds that witness to His transforming power, we will discover that He is already at work in His Kingdom to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven.
Ben Gray and Jonathan Gould are privileged to be invited back to Israel next year to join leaders from the across North Africa and the Middle East who are starting to explore how they can work together. We are thankful to God for the opportunity to increase our work of supporting the church there. After four years of training leaders in Egypt through the generous donations of many faithful supporters and the prayers of the Australian Prayer Network, we are grateful that together we can be a catalyst for growth in the region.
SEEING THE FUTURE OF THE ISRAELI CHURCH
The Israeli church is at a crossroads in history where it’s possible to glimpse its future. Many leaders from Jewish, Arabic & other backgrounds are working to build relational unity and bring down dividing walls of hostility. We were lucky to meet several of these faithful believers, to hear their stories and pray for them.
One such ministry is the Israel College of the Bible in Netanya. Here they have a vision to train the church leaders of the future. At present about a third of their intake are Arabs and two thirds Jews. They also accept international applicants. We were inspired to hear the story of a young Arab man from Bethlehem who has enrolled with them even though he has to get up at 3am every morning to ensure he arrives at classes on time after passing through several security checkpoints. What commitment that shows to learn with his Jewish brothers and sisters!
ARMENIA & SE TURKEY ON THE ASSYRIAN HIGHWAY
After completing our formal assignments in Israel, the following day the Lord confirmed the next step for our ministry in regards to conducting strategic prayer journeys. We have already begun researching and making plans to take a small team to Armenia and SE Turkey in September 2014 (see above for more details).
The scope of the trip will include:
+ Antioch, where 1st century believers were first called Christians and, whose church served as a base for Paul’s missionary journeys;
+ Harran just north of the Syrian border where we’ll look into the connection with Abraham and his family;
+ Sanliurfa (Edessa), the early church centre on the crossroads of the ancient Assyrian highway that runs through the fertile crescent;
+ around Mardin, Diyarbakir and Van we’ll pray for truth to be revealed and justice to be done regarding the Armenian & Assyrian Genocide where around two million Christians are estimated to have been killed at the hands of Muslim Turks and Kurds. We are approaching the 100th anniversary of these terrible events on 24th April 2015;
+ we’ll also pray in the Armenian ghost city of Ani in Turkey and visit the probable resting site of Noah’s ark on Mt Ararat;
+ and visit key sites around the Christian nation of Armenia, learning its history as the first sovereign nation to accept Christ in AD301.
Why us Australians again? Only this year the New South Wales government has been an international forerunner in recognising the Armenian & Assyrian Genocide. They took this decision not just based on research conducted by historians but also based on ANZAC PoW testimonies. The parliamentary record also records a story of two ANZACs who rescued 40,000 Assyrians & Armenians in the mountains of north-west Iran and eastern Iraq in 1918.
Source: CHI Ministries and APN