A call for Christians to join in a day of prayer for two IDF soldiers whose bodies are being held for ransom by Hamas was answered by churches literally in every continent.
Amit Barak, an Israeli-Christian relations consultant who volunteered to help organize the initiative, has received responses from churches all around the world.
“The first to respond was Pastor Becky Keenan from Houston,” Barak told Breaking Israel News. “Several other Evangelical congregations contacted us. After that, a church from India contacted us and several churches in Israel have joined in. Churches from as far away as Taiwan, Philippines, Brazil, and Australia have joined in.”
One congregation in Hamburg, Germany is organizing a prayer watch. Christians have signed up to ensure that there will be a full twenty-four hours of non-stop prayer for the missing soldiers.
Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The two were killed in battle and their bodies held to ransom by Hamas to use as leverage in negotiations with Israel. After the incidents, public celebrations were held in Gaza and Ramallah. Hamas has demanded the release of security prisoners from Israeli prisons to return the bodies to the soldiers’ families
With the consent of the Goldin and Shaul families, a petition went out one month ago calling for prayer for the return of their bodies. Amit Barak, an Israeli-Christian relations consultant, volunteered to help organize the initiative.
“The families of the soldiers were very appreciative that so many people from around the world, from different cultures and different religions, came together to pray for them,” Barak said. “They have been trying through political channels to get the Israeli government to help them but this is something entirely different. This is not an attempt to pressure the government. This is simply calling out to hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) to help. This is something every father and mother can understand.”
The day of prayer will be held on Sunday, September 23, one day before the General Assembly of the United Nations will hold a high-level plenary meeting on world peace.
“Goldin was part of a group of soldiers ambushed by Hamas two hours after a UN humanitarian ceasefire was brokered,” Barak said. “The UN took on the authority as a broker of peace to intervene and an IDF soldier paid for it with his life. The UN needs to acknowledge their responsibility and work to fix the results of their actions by pressuring Hamas to release the bodies.”
Many synagogues and Jewish organizations have contacted Barak as well, pledging to recite special prayers on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, for the missing soldiers.
Barak noted that mait mitzvah, burying a dead person who has not been buried, is an enormously important Torah commandment taking precedence over most other Torah commandments. This is derived from a verse in Deuteronomy.
You must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to Hashem: you shall not defile the land that Hashem your God is giving you to possess. Deuteronomy 21:23
To join the call to prayer, contact Barak by email: firstname.lastname@example.org