February 15, 2024

The inspiration for the prayer summits emerged during a strategic collaboration between Dr. Fares Abraham and his friend and ministry partner, Rev. Nizar Shaheen, as they discussed key ministry initiatives in the Middle East back in December last year. Nizar, hailing from Cana of Galilee, founded the renowned ministry, Light For All Nations, four decades ago. Their collective plea for peace and divine intervention amid the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza led them to organize this prayer summit and share it with the leaders in Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt.

Bethlehem, Palestine

During the first summit in Bethlehem on January 29th, 2024, Fares highlighted the unwavering faith of Palestinian Christians, who continuously inhabited the Holy Land since the inception of the church on the Day of the Pentecost. Moreover, Fares spoke passionately about Christians in Palestine, especially those in Gaza, who endured complete destruction of their homes and the loss of 24 precious people. Pastors and leaders fervently prayed for healing, comfort, and restoration of the brokenhearted and oppressed. Tearful prayers filled with both anguish and hope were led by several pastors and leaders and some believers originally from Gaza.

In his keynote message, Fares underscored the spiritual strength of the Church through the resurrected Christ, offering believers hope and victory. He emphasized the importance of relying on God’s promises and trusting in His ultimate sovereignty. Prayers were lifted and appealed for a ceasefire and an end to the hostilities, grounding the plea in Psalm 46, which declares that God causes wars to cease across the entire earth. In addition, we prayed for the families of the hostages in Gaza and for their safe return to their loved ones.

The event took place at Bethlehem Bible College under the auspices of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, with the majority of Palestinian pastors and churches in attendance. Regrettably, the turnout was low due to the fear of Palestinians encountering clashes with the Israeli army anywhere in the West Bank, keeping people confined to their homes.

The following day, Fares spent three hours at the Church of the Nativity, seated near the manger where the Lord was laid after birth praying and meditating on God’s Word. It was disheartening to witness the absence of worshippers, visitors, and tourists in the vicinity, rendering Bethlehem akin to a ghost town. His visit to Jerusalem the following day was also remarkable. It felt surreal to sense the tension in the air as people moved about with machine guns along streets that were typically vibrant with visitors but now devoid of tourists.

In an emotional prayer walk through the Old City and on the rooftops of beloved Jerusalem, Fares spent time walking and praying. Inside Jesus’s empty tomb at the Holy Sepulcher, he reflected for 30 minutes—a stark contrast to the usual hours-long wait for a mere 30 seconds inside. Recalling Jesus’s lamentation in Luke 19, Fares shed tears for the city and left with a renewed sense of hope. Despite rejection and crucifixion that occurred 2,000 years ago, the same Jesus still desires for all people to know Him and enjoy a relationship with the true and living God through Him.

Amman, Jordan

The summit in Jordan on February 3rd, 2024, was truly remarkable, hosted by the Council of Evangelical Churches in Jordan. The Free Evangelical Church in Amman overflowed with pastors, leaders, and worshippers from across Jordan, gathered to fervently pray for peace in the Holy Land and the wider region.

Fares delivered a powerful message, drawing parallels between the story of the Good Samaritan and the current situation in Gaza. He urged the global Church to embody the spirit of a Good Samaritan, extending love, compassion, and support to Gazans in their time of desperate need. Fares cautioned against mere passivity and escapism, referencing Luke 10:31-32, and called for crossing racial, ethnic, and religious barriers to tangibly demonstrate Christ’s love.

The event garnered significant media attention, with major national newspapers in Jordan featuring it prominently on their front pages. Fares’ message was well-received, emphasizing the evangelical community’s gratitude for Jordan’s humanitarian support and diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the ongoing war in Gaza. Furthermore, Fares expressed heartfelt appreciation for King Abdullah II’s personal support for the Palestinian people and his unwavering commitment to peace and compassion, drawing a comparison to a modern-day Samaritan. In addition, Fares emphasized the importance of acknowledging the longstanding presence of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims in the land, each deserving of peace and dignity. This conflict is not a religious war, despite attempts to portray it as such. Rather, it’s a complex issue rooted in political disputes and human rights violations. He emphasized that Christians must not weaponize the Bible against anyone.

Alexandria, Egypt

The final leg of the Together for Peace prayer summit and tour concluded in Alexandria on February 8th-9th, 2024, coinciding with the eve of the Night to Shine event hosted by Levant Ministries for the second consecutive year. Night to Shine, sponsored by The Tim Tebow Foundation, is a complementary event for people with special needs hosted by local churches around the world on February 9th, 2024. The event is open to anyone living with disabilities, ages 14 and older. Although each event is a little bit different, some activities included are a red-carpet entrance, limousine rides, dancing, karaoke, gifts, a catered dinner, a Respite Room for parents and caregivers, a crowning ceremony where every honored guest will receive a crown or tiara, and more.

Attarine Evangelical Church in Alexandria graciously hosted the summit, predominantly drawing a vibrant crowd of young attendees. Fares delivered a moving message from Romans 8, underscoring the unbreakable bond between believers and the love of Christ. Notably, Egypt grapples with significant economic uncertainties and political pressures due to its pivotal role in geopolitical complexities. Many Egyptians feel a sense of hopelessness and insecurity about the future due to the myriad challenges surrounding them. Despite these challenges, the atmosphere at the summit remained imbued with love, compassion, and fervent prayers.

Nizar Shaheen delivered a timely message, emphasizing the necessity for the church to repent to experience breakthroughs. Drawing from 2 Chronicles 7:14, he encouraged pastors and congregants to adopt this as their motto for 2024, fostering a desire for spiritual breakthroughs in their personal lives, homes, and country. Prayers were lifted for Egypt, its people, and those in positions of authority.

The following day, inspired by the prayer summit, many young people volunteered at the Night to Shine event held at the Hilton. The event warmly welcomed 67 special needs individuals, with their families in attendance for support. Notably, government leaders and dignitaries from the community attended the celebration and expressed solidarity and support for this marginalized community. The head of security in Alexandria personally reached out to Dr. Fares Abraham, expressing gratitude for the love shown to his community. He acknowledged feeling blessed to witness Christians demonstrating compassion for the special needs community, surpassing the efforts of many Muslims.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Together for Peace prayer summits have left an enduring spiritual imprint on Bethlehem, Amman, and Alexandria, surpassing geographical boundaries to unite Christians in fervent prayer for peace. From the heartfelt prayers to the impactful messages and testimonies, attendees were stirred to center their focus on glorifying God and passionately sharing the life-transforming message of the gospel.

As followers of Jesus, we are reminded that our faith extends far beyond earthly boundaries, compelling us to actively engage in God’s redemptive work in the Middle East and beyond. These initiatives emphasize the critical call for Christians to break through the barriers of passivity and immerse themselves in God’s unfolding plan in this cherished region and throughout the world. Let us joyfully embrace the challenge to become peacemakers, directing our efforts toward the proclamation of the gospel and extending the kingdom of God to every corner of the earth.