A rally in support of Israel, organized by Christian worship leader and activist Sean Feucht, drew a full house to Godspeak Calvary Chapel Church in Newbury Park in late October.
“We know what the media is saying … we know what politicians are saying, but you know what? God, what are you saying?” Feucht said at the beginning of the “Night of Hope for Israel.” “My prayer is that tonight this will spark courage in churches and leaders across America to begin doing [events like] this. There’s something about gathering together in a spirit of unity and worshiping that flushes all the propaganda and the biases and the media filth and Twitter scrolling and gets it off us.”
Feucht, who is best known for leading hundreds of Let Us Worship events around the country in defiance of government lockdowns, also served for 20 years as a minister to some of the most closed and violent areas of the world, including war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan right after September 11, 2001.
“A lot of people are unaware of God’s awakening in the Middle East, not only in Israel, but the fastest-[growing] underground church right now is actually in Iran.”Sean Feucht
“The purpose of tonight is to give us prayer points as we go into this season,” Feucht said. “God is raising up intercessors that are going to pray. That’s what you guys are. … We have got to be a people of joy, a people of hope. We’ve got to be a people of worship.”
The evening opened and closed with a prayer given by Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jason Sobel. It also featured music by an Israeli Orthodox Jew, Yair Levi, who received permission from a rabbi and from the Israel Defense Forces to fly to the U.S. for this event.
“Thank you,” Levi said in opening. “I see so many people here praying for Israel. … It’s so important for us to know that we have such good friends.”
He then led the assembled hundreds in the Israeli national anthem and several Psalms he had put to music. The response was passionate, and many raised their hands to praise, even in the Hebrew language, which was translated into English on the screens. Levi was accompanied by an Israeli musician who played traditional instruments. At one point, Levi led the congregation in the popular Christian worship song, “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul).”
Also participating was Carine Bassili, who was born and raised in Lebanon and is now an exiled Christian singer/songwriter living in the U.S. She wrote a song based on Psalm 105, which she, Feucht and Levi sang together publicly for the first time in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
The three, joined by Pastor Rob McCoy, also gave a panel talk about the many difficulties involved with the present situation in Israel and the biblical view of hope and unity they hoped to promote. Bassili shared about how Christians she knows in Lebanon go to the mountainous border regions near Israel to pray for the Jews and for the breaking of strife between Jews and Arabs.
“We cannot respond in hate to the other side. The Torah says, ‘Do not hate your brother in your heart.’”Rabbi Jason Sobel
“A lot of people are unaware of God’s awakening in the Middle East, not only in Israel, but the fastest-[growing] underground church right now is actually in Iran,” said Feucht. “I love to see God move in Palestinian refugee camps. I love to see him move in Jordan[ian] refugee camps. I love to see him move on the front lines of ISIS. … It’s important for us to have a heart for this region because God has a heart for this region.”
In closing, Rabbi Sobel said, “There’s a lot of people running from Israel because it’s not popular, because they’re concerned about what the people around them will say, but we need to be those who have the courage to run toward our friends.”
He continued, “Yeshua [Jesus] said, ‘Bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you.’ For those of us who love Israel and stand with Israel, we also need to pray for the Palestinians, for the Arab peoples, especially for God to protect the innocent lives. Because God has a promise for the children of Ishmael, and they are extended family. We need to pray for them, and we need to care for them and love them, and we cannot respond in hate to the other side. The Torah says, ‘Do not hate your brother in your heart.’ So as messianic Jews, as Jews, as followers of Yeshua, as Christians, we need to pray for the Arab peoples, pray for the children of Israel, for God to move, to change hearts and to do something powerful.”