Friday, March 4, 2011

Holy Land Pilgrimage – Lessons from the Holy Land about Prayer

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.

While in Bethlehem in January 2011 our tour group visited a shop owned by an Arabic Christian. In America, we tend to think that all Arabs are Muslims. While the majority may be, we must remember that Christianity started in the Middle East and there has always been a Christian presence within Arab culture. Though in recent centuries Christianity has only been a small presence in Arab public life, the depth of faith that Arab Christians have is nothing short of amazing. Arab Christians endure intense persecution from their Muslim neighbors and yet persist in their faith in Christ.

After leaving the Christian shop, an Arab Christian asked our tour guide if he might pray for our tour group. We obviously were pleased to have him do so. We were then blessed as he proceeded to pray the Lord’s Prayer for us in Arabic. Though prayer is powerful in any language, hearing that famous prayer prayed exactly as Jesus would have said it, was even more powerful than a normal rendition of the Lord’s Prayer.

Speaking of the power of prayer, on another day we were touring Jerusalem and had just finished praying at the Western Wall. As we were walking away from the area around the Western Wall to continue our tour of other sites in the city, a young Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walked up to me. The young man thanked me for coming to his nation and for praying for his people at the Western Wall. He asked me if I was married and had children. I told him I was married and had three children. He then proceeded to place his hand on head and pray a powerful prayer of blessing on me and on my wife and children. Of all the people in our tour group, I do not know why the young man selected me, but I felt blessed by God to have one of His chosen people pray for me. I was moved to tears at his spiritual gift to me and it was a powerful reminder to me of the power of a simple prayer.

Today, as we go through our daily affairs, may we look for someone whom we might encourage through prayer.


  1. That gives me goose bumps to read!

  2. أَبَانَا الذِي فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ،
    لِيُقَدَّسَ اسْمُكَ.
    لِيَأْتِ مَلَكُوتُكَ،
    لِتَكُنْ مَشِيئَتُكَ فِي الأَرْضِ كَمَا السَّمَاءِ.
    ارْزُقْنَا خُبْزَنَا كَفَافَ يَوْمِنَا،
    وَ اعْفُ عَنْ خَطَايَانَا،
    فَإِنَّنَا نَعْفُو عَمَّنْ يُخْطِئُونَ بِحَقِّنَا.
    لاَ تُعَرِّضْنَا لِلغِوَايَةِ،
    بَلْ نَجِّنَا مِنَ الشِّرِيرِ.
    فَلَكَ المَلَكُوتُ وَ الجَبَرُوتُ وَ المَجْدُ أَبَداً.

  3. Maybe the Jewish young man thought you were also Jewish and was just trying to repay the favor of prayer to a fellow Jew?

  4. There are lots of different kinds of Arab Christians.

  5. Thanks for the reminder.