Isn’t praying for the peace of Jerusalem enough?


The scripture in Psalm 122:6 commands us to, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.” We must understand the full meaning of this scripture in the original Hebrew if it is to make sense and if we are to really implement it in the light of all too much superficial use of this verse. Certainly we all believe in prayer and we know that God answers prayer. But in this scripture the Hebrew really means not the usual word for prayer, but a different word. A better translation of this verse would be: Diligently pursue and follow after the wholeness, completeness and well-being of Jerusalem. They shall prosper, do well and be successful who do so. This amplified understanding of the verse makes clear that the psalmist describes not the usual prayer or beseeching of God to do something or to help us in a matter, but a personal, action of our own, to pursue not just peace as we usually think of it, that is to say, the absence of war or conflict, but instead the wholeness, completeness and well-being of Jerusalem. This is a full and meaningful difference when we think today of how many nations, even churches and other religions, wish to divide Jerusalem, take the lion’s share of it away from the Jews and give it to the Palestinian Arabs.

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