BREAKING: Israel and Gaza moving towards full-blown war. Hamas breaks cease-fire. 150+ rockets fired at Israel overnight. 17 Israeli civilians injured. IDF retaliating. Palestinians in Gaza suffering under Hamas tyranny. Here’s the latest. #PleasePray

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on BREAKING: Israel and Gaza moving towards full-blown war. Hamas breaks cease-fire. 150+ rockets fired at Israel overnight. 17 Israeli civilians injured. IDF retaliating. Palestinians in Gaza suffering under Hamas tyranny. Here’s the latest. #PleasePray
Aug 082018
 

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Pray it doesn’t happen. Pray that civilians on both sides of the border are spared the horror. But all signs suggest a major new war is about to erupt between Israel and Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza.

It has been exactly four years since the last full-scale war between Israel and the terrorists of the Gaza Strip. In August of 2014 (the month my family and I moved to Israel), some 4,594 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at civilians in the Jewish State by Hamas and its allies. The Israeli military retaliated fiercely, bombarding the Strip with hundreds of strikes on terrorist facilities. IDF ground forces made numerous incursions into the Strip. In the end, Israeli chose not to launch a complete invasion and occupation of the Strip, but many on both sides of the border suffered and great damage was caused during the conflict.

Since then, a shaky truce has persisted. The Egyptian government of President el-Sisi deserves credit for actively working behind the scenes to persuade Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups to stand down. 

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Yet in 2018, there has been a dramatic escalation:

So far, Israeli officials have chosen not to mobilize reservists and launch a full-scale ground and air operation against Gaza. But Hamas and their terror allies are clearly trying to provoke such a war. 

Why? That’s anyone’s guess. These evil leaders are determined to rob, kill and destroy. They have trapped — enslaved, really — the people of Gaza in a brutish environment. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Palestinians people of Gaza have priceless beachfront property along the Mediterranean. They have smart, industrious people. They have natural gas reserves right off the coast that foreign petroleum companies are willing to help them develop if there only was peace. Israel, it should be noted, has not occupied the Strip since August 2005. Thus, for the last thirteen years the people of Gaza could have been building a free and thriving and prosperous society. Instead, they find themselves suffering under a wicked tyranny that is engaging in hundreds of war crimes (i.e., shooting at innocent civilians in Israel from schools, hospitals, playgrounds and other civilian centers in Gaza.) Hamas can’t provide enough food or cooking fuel. They only provide a few hours of electricity every day. That means even people with air conditioners suffer in blazing desert heat most days without being use them. 

Israel has a right to defend her people. But these terror attacks and this humanitarian disaster cannot go on.

The world needs to focus like a laser on pressuring Hamas to stop attacking Israel, surrender their weapons, and let the Palestinian Authority reassert control and begin to rebuild with Egypt’s help, and the help of wealthy Gulf countries.

The people of Gaza need help. They are people created in the image of a God — a God who loves them. They deserve so much better. Let us pray for quiet and calm on the border, to be sure. Let us pray war that war will be averted. But let’s not stop there. Let’s pray for more — for the complete political, economic and spiritual liberation of the Palestinians of Gaza. It cannot come too soon.

In region divided by terror & politics, Evangelical leaders call for global prayer for peace and “supernatural unity” between Israeli and Palestinian Christians. (Here’s the Christian Post’s coverage of the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit.)

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on In region divided by terror & politics, Evangelical leaders call for global prayer for peace and “supernatural unity” between Israeli and Palestinian Christians. (Here’s the Christian Post’s coverage of the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit.)
Aug 062018
 

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>> To listen to or watch any of the messages from the Summit, please click here.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — The Christian Post just published an excellent story on the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit, and I commend it to your attention.

Here is the article in full

Influential Christian leaders Ronnie Floyd and Anne Graham Lotz were among some 800 believers who attended a conference in Jerusalem and offered prayers for “supernatural unity.”

“We prayed boldly that peace may reign in Jerusalem and in the most volatile region in the world. And we prayed for supernatural unity that overcomes the most entrenched barriers and divisions,” Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, told The Christian Post on Thursday.

The Epicenter Prayer Summit in Jerusalem was led by The Joshua Fund on July 11 and 12. Joshua Fund founder Joel C. Rosenberg revealed on his blog that participants included those from the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other nations. The event came in the midst of high tension in the region, with hundreds of rockets being fired at Israel from Gaza.

Floyd, who is also the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Lotz, author and daughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham, both spoke at the event, as did pastors and leaders of local Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian Arab ministries.

“The heartbeat of the conference was to come together in unity, seeing walls coming down between all true believers in Jesus through the power of prayer. All of this is so we can be used in a powerful way to communicate the Gospel to all peoples,” Floyd explained.

The pastor reflected that everywhere around the world, people “allow language, race, culture, ancestry, nationality and anything that might make us different from someone else to divide us.”

“Sadly, this is painfully visible in the region of the world where Jesus was born. Yet that’s exactly why Jesus came, to bring down the barriers between people and between us and God. Bringing people together around the Word of God and the person of Jesus Christ is the key to overcoming divisions between people from diverse backgrounds,” he stated.

“The testimonies from Jewish and Palestinian believers in Jesus Christ were particularly powerful and encouraging to each of us. The Gospel is more powerful than any barrier we can build.”

Tensions on the Gaza border with Israel flared up in May, when dozens of Palestinians were killed during violent protests over the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a decision that has divided many in the region.

Floyd revealed that the differences on the issue “were certainly understood,” but explained that the conference “was not meant to address political issues.”

“It was meant to remind ourselves that the Gospel transcends these issues and brings us together as one. The vision was to stay focused on the Gospel and its advancement across the Middle East and beyond, knowing prayer and awakening are the key,” he added.

Rosenberg, who is a best-selling author, said in opening remarks at the prayer summit that believers need to examine just what it means to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

“How do make sure not to simply pray for one group who live here to the exclusion of the others? How can we encourage one another to pray for Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, and for all who live in the Epicenter?” he posed.

“This is exactly what this Summit is for — learning to pray for all the souls of this extraordinary city and region, from Scripture, with real faces before us, and with purpose and great power.”

Lotz, who leads Angel Ministries, spoke from Daniel 9, calling on people to pray in a way that moves Heaven and changes nations, families and individuals.

“If prayer is hard for you, it’s because prayer is hard, OK? One of the things that helps me is if I can find a model prayer in Scripture after which I can pattern my prayers….Daniel was a man who prayed so powerfully and so effectively that God answered his prayer and a nation was changed,” she said.

Lotz also spoke of the importance of trusting in the faithfulness of God.

“God is faithful. What testimony can you give of the faithfulness of God in your life? I can tell you, just as God has been faithful to Joel Rosenberg, and just as God has been faithful to Ronnie Floyd, and just as God has been faithful to Billy Graham, and me; just as God has been faithful to your grandmother or your pastor, God will be faithful to you,” she continued.

“You know how I know that? Because God is faithful. He can’t be less than Himself, can He?”

Floyd told CP that he believes that progress was made on important topics.

“For those of us visiting from America, it moved us to see and hear firsthand about the challenges our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters face. This was personally challenging and an important reminder of the cost of following Jesus. We have to stand in unity and solidarity with believers around the world, especially in places where they face persecution for their faith,” the pastor said.

“I believe for those located in the Middle East it was also refreshing and encouraging to know Christians in the West are praying with and for them. Time will bear the testimony of this fruit.”

As for the prospects of peace in Israel, given the continued turmoil in the region, Floyd noted that peace begins with prayer.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” he said, citing Psalm 122 in the Bible.

“This is what we did throughout the conference. While we always support efforts to establish peace in Israel and Palestine, our confidence is not in any man-brokered deal. We place our confidence in the Prince of Peace and His soon return, who will establish unending peace not only in Jerusalem but in the whole earth.” 

U.S. absolutely right to impose sanctions on Turkey for refusing to release Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson. Please pray for a breakthrough. Here’s the latest on case that highlights a NATO member’s turn to the dark side.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on U.S. absolutely right to impose sanctions on Turkey for refusing to release Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson. Please pray for a breakthrough. Here’s the latest on case that highlights a NATO member’s turn to the dark side.
Aug 052018
 

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Readers of this column know I have been warning for years that Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Erdogan is taking his country steadily, even aggressively, away from its long-time alliance with the West and into the arms of Russia and Iran. (for examples, see here, here, here, here, and here.)

After years of denial by the Obama administration that there was any serious problem, Washington is finally beginning to pay attention to Erdogan’s march to the dark side. 

  • On July 26, President Trump warned Erdogan (pronounced, “Air-do-wahn”) to immediately release American Evangelical Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson from a Turkish prison or face “large sanctions.” 
  • The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!” wrote the President in a Tweet.
  • At a conference on international religious freedom held in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence also spoke out publicly against Turkey.
  • On July 29, Erdogan angrily rejected the White House warnings. “We will not step back when faced with sanctions,” Erdogan said. “They [the U.S.] should not forget that they will lose a sincere partner.” While the pastor has been released from prison, Brunson is still under house arrest and Turkey refuses to drop the charges against him. 
  • On August 2, President Trump kept his word and imposed sanctions on Turkey, targeting Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu because they “serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey’s serious human rights abuses.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is actively engaged in trying to release the pastor, stating: “It’s pretty straightforward. Pastor Brunson is an innocent pastor and they need to let him a return to the United States.”

Please pray for Mr. Brunson, who:

  • Is pastor of a legally-recognized church in the city of Izmir.
  • Has served the Lord in Turkey since 1993.
  • Has already been in prison for nearly two years (since October 2016).
  • Faces a sentence of up to 35 years if convicted in Turkish courts.

“It is really hard to stay in jail and be separated from my wife and children,” Brunson said at a recent court hearing. “The disciples of Jesus suffered in his name. Now it is my turn. I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus’ name.”

Please pray for U.S. officials, as well, to have the wisdom to know how best to handle Erdogan, ostensibly a NATO ally but increasingly an opponent and steadily emerging as an enemy of the West.

To that end, it is worth reading a recent Wall Street Journal editorial — “Sanctions For The Sultan” — that captures the geopolitical challenge quite well:

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become increasingly unreliable as an ally over the last decade, yet he has suffered few consequences from his NATO partners. That changed Wednesday when the Trump Administration followed through on its threat to impose sanctions on Turkey for taking an American hostage.

The U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu for the “unfair and unjust detention” of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The action was taken under the Global Magnitsky Act, so Messrs. Gul and Soylu are now in a class with the likes of Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov and former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh in being subjected to potential asset freezes and travel restrictions.

Pastor Brunson led a Presbyterian congregation in Izmir for more than two decades. He was jailed on trumped-up terrorism charges after a failed 2016 military coup. Turkey’s modern sultan may see Mr. Brunson as leverage to get the U.S. to extradite a Pennsylvania-based imam who Mr. Erdogan believes masterminded the coup. The Turks also hold NASA scientist and Turkish-American citizen Serkan Golge, who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison in February for alleged terrorist ties.

Mr. Trump has tried private diplomacy with Mr. Erdogan, and last month he threatened sanctions if Mr. Brunson wasn’t released. A Turkish court released him to house arrest, but he continues to face charges. Mr. Trump had no choice but to impose the sanctions once he had threatened them.

All of this marks a new low in U.S.-Turkey relations, and the potential for additional U.S. sanctions if there’s no solution won’t help Mr. Erdogan as he tries to stabilize a falling currency and stop capital flight. The lira has lost almost 25% of its value this year and hit another low Wednesday.

If Mr. Erdogan thought the U.S. President didn’t mean what he tweeted, he now knows better. A more serious breach would damage U.S. interests in the region, but failing to respond to hostage-taking would damage them too.

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Exclusive: “The Persian Gamble” is the name of Joel C. Rosenberg’s next political thriller, scheduled for a March 2019 release. (“The Real Book Spy” website reveals title, cover and early details of my next novel.)

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Jul 302018
 

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Ryan Steck, editor of The Real Book Spy website — which provides the publishing industry’s best coverage and reviews of political thrillers and spy novels — has a new article out today revealing the title, cover art and some early details of my next novel.

Here are some excerpts:

Buckle up, because former U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker is set to return next March in The Persian Gamble, the all-new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg. 

Known throughout his career for penning headline-beating novels, Rosenberg (who was called a “modern Nostradamus” by U.S. News & World Report) was once again right on the money in predicting the amped-up tension between the United States and Russia, the main theme of his last book, The Kremlin Conspiracy (2017), the first title in a new series starring Marcus Ryker.

Last year, ahead of the release of The Kremlin Conspiracy, Rosenberg told me that one of the reasons he was drawn to Russia is because he has Russian roots. “My grandparents on my father’s side were Orthodox Jews who escaped out of Czarist, anti-Semitic Russia in the early years of the 20th century,” he explained. “In 2004, my father and I traveled to Moscow to do research for Epicenter and The Ezekiel Option. I guess I find myself fascinated with — and somewhat haunted by — both the history and the future of Russia.” …..

“I needed a new challenge and wanted to focus on a different part of the world, different enemies. In this case, I kept finding myself drawn to Russia. Moscow was once known as the seat of the ‘Evil Empire’ and I believe it is once again emerging as the center of the most dangerous government on the planet. Remember, Iran, al Qaeda, and ISIS just dream of having nuclear weapons. Moscow not only has them but also has the long-range ballistic missiles to hit every city in NATO and the United States. If they reemerge not simply as a geopolitical challenge but an aggressive enemy, the world will be headed down a very dark road.”

This time around, I reached out to Joel Rosenberg again and asked him what readers should expect from his highly-anticipated new thriller. 

“I think The Persian Gamble may be the fastest-paced thriller I’ve ever written,” said Rosenberg. “My editor actually insisted that in certain places I slow things down so readers can breathe. I’m working on the edits now.”

To follow up, I asked the author if he still felt as though Russia was rising up as the center of the most dangerous government on the planet, to which he answered, “Absolutely,” before adding….

I asked Rosenberg if current headlines played any role at all while he was coming up with the plot for The Persian Gamble. Though he didn’t want to give away too much about the story just yet, he did explain his goals in writing each book, while also teasing a few more tidbits about his next novel. 

“My novels are about worst-case scenarios, terrible events that could happen in the near future though we pray they do not. My goal isn’t to write what’s in the headlines today but what could be coming, God forbid, in a few years. What I loved about writing The Persian Gamble was tying the fate of three enemy powers — Russia, Iran, and North Korea — into one chilling scenario and putting my hero, Marcus Ryker, in the vortex of the danger. Most people see these three countries as threats. But they don’t necessarily see them as allies, actively working together and plotting catastrophic attacks against the West. But that’s what I fear is happening and that’s where I take Ryker and his team. I can’t say more at the moment. I will, but….”

[To read the full article, please click here.]

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Evangelicals need to love and pray for both Israelis and Palestinians, the founder of The Joshua Fund tells CBN News at 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit.

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Jul 242018
 

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(Joel Rosenberg speaks with CBN News Chris Mitchell on the sidelines of the prayer summit.)

EPICENTER PRAYER SUMMIT CALLS JEWISH, ARAB AND AMERICAN BELIEVERS TO UNITE IN JERUSALEM

By Chris Mitchell, CBN Middle East Bureau Chief — July 20, 2018

[Note: to watch the video of the story that ran on CBN News, please click here]

[Note: to watch videos from the Epicenter Prayer Summit, please click here]

Author and Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg had a major theme in mind for a prayer conference he recently organized in Jerusalem.

“We’re trying to focus on prayer and unity for Israeli Jewish and Arab believers, between the Messianic body of Israel and the Palestinian believers,” he told CBN News.

The Epicenter Prayer Summit was organized and hosted by The Joshua Fund, a non-profit ministry founded by Joel and Lynn Rosenberg to mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors.

Rosenberg wants to connect believers in the West to the Holy Land by bringing middle America to the Middle East.

“What we could do uniquely was focus people on what does it mean to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?” he said. “We say that, but what does that mean? How can we pray Scripture? And how can we pray with the faces of Jewish and Arab Israeli and Palestinian believers right in front of us, stories we never knew before. That gave a chance to say, now I can go back to Wichita or San Diego or wherever; now I have a sense of who(m) I’m praying for.”  

Two U.S. evangelical leaders saw those faces and experienced that unity.
 
“That’s the Body of Christ, you know. We’re not divided, so there’s neither Jew nor Greek, there’s neither slave nor free, there’s neither male nor female, so we’re one in Christ,” said Anne Graham Lotz with Angel Ministries. “And so to come together, which they’re doing here at this Summit, is just, it’s a revelation of what the Body of Christ is and as it was pointed out this morning that’s a testimony to who Jesus is. It’s a testimony to the world that we can be one.”

Ronnie Floyd, director of the National Day of Prayer, said, “It’s really enlightening to see the two brought together as one through Jesus Christ. And I think that’s the real testimony of being here this week.”

Floyd spoke to participants about the power of prayer.

“I talked about the undeniable reality and connectivity between prayer and the Holy Spirit and boldness.  And the same thing that is needed here in courage in the Middle East for believers is the very same thing that is needed in America,” he said.

Rosenberg hopes the Summit can shine a wider light on the Body of Christ in the Holy Land.

“We forget to ever think about the fact that there are Palestinians who do know the Lord and there are Palestinians who need to know the Lord,” Rosenberg said. “And so when we get excited about one side to the exclusion of the other, this is not really God’s heart.  

“He [the Lord] does love Israel. He does love the Jewish people and He’s got a plan for them, but He also loves the Arabs. In Christ and Christ alone God is bringing the very peace that all the rest of the world wants for this region… the people of the region want. It’s tough to find outside of Christ,” he said.

Amidst hot, tense summer in the Mideast, Epicenter Prayer Summit brings together 800-plus Christians from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, North America & other nations to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the region. (Excerpts from local Israeli media coverage.)

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on Amidst hot, tense summer in the Mideast, Epicenter Prayer Summit brings together 800-plus Christians from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, North America & other nations to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the region. (Excerpts from local Israeli media coverage.)
Jul 232018
 

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(Pictured left to right: Joshua Fund founder Joel C. Rosenberg; Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz; Pastor Ronnie Floyd, President of the National Day of Prayer and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention; Rev. Munir Kakish, pastor of a Palestinian congregation in Ramallah and Chairman of the Palestinian Evangelical Council; his wife, Sharon Kakish; Israeli believer Shirya Yahav; and her husband, Daniel Yahav, pastor of an Israeli congregation in Tiberius.)

(Jerusalem, Israel) — We’re in the midst of a long, hot summer in the Epicenter. Tensions are running high between Israelis and Palestinians this summer from a range of reasons. Among them:

  • Bitter disagreements over whether Israel’s 70th anniversary is a good thing or bad
  • Two entirely different views of President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Widely divergent views of whether the U.S.-designed peace plan — still released — will be fair and which side it will benefit
  • Growing despair in Gaza
  • Utter chaos in Syria
  • Iranian efforts to spark one regional conflict after another , from Gaza to Yemen. 

In recent weeks, hundreds of rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. Israeli forces have retaliated. Now there is talk that a major ground war in Gaza may not be far off. Let’s hope not — but those are the rumors swirling here.

In that context, it seemed to my Joshua Fund colleagues and me more important than ever to bring Israeli and Palestinian followers of Jesus together with Christians from all over the world to pray together for the peace of Jerusalem and the peace of all the people in the region, as well as to pray for the advancement of the Gospel. That’s why we organized the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit. We were so encouraged that over 800 Christians — including people from nearly every continent — attended.

Here are excerpts from local Israeli media coverage of the event.

Epicenter Prayer Summit encourages Christians to bless Israel, neighbors

By Cliff Kelly, Kehila News Israel

The 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit, held by The Joshua Fund, included one evening and full day of “teaching, prayer, praise and worship” at the Jerusalem Theater on July 11 and 12.

Speakers included Bible teacher and evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, pastor Ronnie Floyd and pastors and leaders of local believing Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian Arab ministries, all of whom shared personal insights, prayer requests and calls for unity among the brethren in the land. 

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Local worship leader Sheli Myers led a group of singers and musicians in praise and worship.

THE POWER OF UNITY

The Joshua Fund founder and best selling author, Joel C. Rosenberg, opened the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit by welcoming attendees from Israel, Palestine and around the world.

“We are famously commanded to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ and so we shall,” Rosenberg told the Summit attendees in his opening remarks. “But what exactly does this mean? …How do make sure not to simply pray for one group who live here to the exclusion of the others? How can we encourage one another to pray for Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, and for all who live in the Epicenter?

“This is exactly what this Summit is for — learning to pray for all the souls of this extraordinary city and region, from Scripture, with real faces before us, and with purpose and great power.”

Rosenberg amplified the Summit theme the next morning, presenting a teaching entitled, The Power of Unity: What the Church in the Epicenter Must Learn from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, based on Jesus’ prayer recounted in John 17….

SUMMIT-audience

PRAYER IS HARD

Each of the Summit’s keynote messages focused on a prayer in scripture which helped demonstrate, in Rosenberg’s words, “how you and I can be praying for the church and the people in the epicenter with clarity and specificity.” On Wednesday evening, Lotz began with a teaching on the prophet, Daniel’s prayer of Daniel 9:3-19.

“As God looks at the world today and His eye goes to and fro,” Lotz said. “And He sees His people who are called by His name, does He wonder that there are not more of us praying on behalf of His people in this city and this land?

“Prayer is hard work,” she told her audience. “If prayer is hard for you, it’s because prayer is hard, okay? One of the things that helps me is if I can find a model prayer in scripture after which I can pattern my prayers… Daniel was a man who prayed so powerfully and so effectively that God answered his prayer and a nation was changed.”

CONVICTION, BOLDNESS AND ASSURANCE

Floyd began the Summit on Thursday morning by asking, “How and what shall the church pray?” then answered by saying that our prayers must be rendered with conviction, boldness and the assurance that God will answer.

“Stop being content in living life and doing ministries without the power of God,” Floyd implored pastors in the audience. “Pray!”

Local Jewish and Arab believers offered teachings, testimony and contributions to several panel discussions. Video and audio playback and downloads of many sessions are available online at epicenterconference.com.