Saturday, March 3, 2007

Children Praying During Purim

Millions of Christian Children to Pray for Israel This Purim

This Purim [Feast of Esther], March 4–5, some six million Christian children will join together to pray for Israel. The initiative is being led by Texas-based evangelist and author Michael Evans, who said that the six million number is to remind Christians of the Holocaust.

This year during Purim, many people are praying about the latest threat to the Jewish people, Iran (modern-day Persia), and President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust and threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Purim is very much considered a joyous holiday, especially for the children, which is a reason why Evans enlisted Christian children for his day of prayer. Purim is the holiday that recalls the redemption of the Jewish people from their enemies in the Persian Empire. The heroes of the story are Esther and Mordechai.

Today, Jews celebrate this holiday by dressing up in costumes (as the true identities of several characters in the story are “masked”), eating special cookies known as Haman’s ears, and a special reading of the scroll of Esther in the synagogues.

Purim has also had a significant meaning for Iraq (part of the ancient Persian Empire). On February 28, 1991, the first day of Purim, the first Gulf War came to an end. On March 18, 2003, again the first day of Purim, US President George W. Bush issued a 48- hour ultimatum for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq or face war. The 48 hours was exactly the two days of Purim that year, just before the “shock and awe” began.

(By Will King, Bridges for Peace, March 1, 2007)

Prayer Focus
This weekend, join the Jewish people as they cry out to God for another miraculous deliverance.

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).