Monday, February 28, 2011

Holy Land Pilgrimage – Praying at the Western Wall

Note: In January 2011 my wife and I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This post is part of a series of blogs I have written to convey what I learned while on this life changing trip. You can read about the entire trip in the devotional book Touching the Footprints of Jesus.

One of the most popular sites to visit in Jerusalem is the Western Wall. It is the last remnant left of the Second Temple built by Jews who returned from the Babylonian Exile in 517 B.C. Later, Herod the Great renovated the temple in 19 B.C. in such a huge way that was often referred to as Herod’s Temple. During the Great Jewish Revolt in 70 A.D. the Romans completely destroyed the Temple and only one section of the western portion of the wall remains.

The wall is a symbol of both hope and mourning for the Jews. It is a symbol of the hope the Jews have to one day rebuild their temple. It is a symbol of mourning because it represents all the Jews have lost through the ages. Over the centuries Jews have gathered at the wall to pray audibly to God for hope and to mourn their sorrows. The sound of their prayers can be heard even before one enters the courtyard in front of the wall. For this reason, the Western Wall is also called the Wailing Wall.

In January 2011 my wife and I and a group of fellow pastors and spouses visited the Western Wall. It was a lovely sunny day which meant that the area was filled with people praying to God. Men and women pray in separate sections and so my wife went with the ladies to one side while I went with the men to other side. Though our group was all Christian, we donned a yarmulke out of respect for Jewish tradition and joined our Jewish brothers in praying at the wall. I do not know what other people in our group prayed while they were standing there, but I prayed for Yeshua (the name Jews use to refer to Jesus) to reveal Himself to His people. I could not help but feel humbled as I, a Gentile who was only grafted into the family of God, stood in such a sacred place and pleaded with the Lord of Glory to call His people back to Himself.

I do not consider myself an expert on prophecy, but I believe God is not yet finished with the Jews. They are still God’s chosen people and somehow they continue to figure into God’s plan for world redemption. I do not claim to understand all the political or cultural complexities the Jews face as they carve out a nation surrounded by powerful enemies, but I understand the simplicity of Psalm 122:6-7, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you prosper; may there be peace within your walls, prosperity within your fortresses" (HCSV). So on that day, as I stood by that famous wall, I prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. I prayed not only for political peace, but I prayed for spiritual peace which only the Prince of Peace can bring into our lives. Please stop right now and take a few minutes to pray for a move of God’s Spirit to sweep through His people once again and for the Jews to realize that Jesus is their long awaited Messiah. Join me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem and watch in anxious anticipation for how the Lord of Glory will answer that prayer.


  1. Jews often throng the Western Wall and engage in sorrowful meditation over the history of their race and are often found repeating words of the Seventy-ninth Psalm. Particularly on Fridays, Jews congregate in large numbers to kiss the sacred stones of the wall and weep outside the precincts.

  2. Thanks for blogging about your trip to Israel. I am enjoying reading all about it.