Watch: Christians pray for return of slain IDF soldiers

Churches and Christian organizations around world join international initiative ahead of UN General Assembly opening session.

Yoni Kempinski ,

נוצרים מתפללים Christian prayer for returnis Israeli KIA
נוצרים מתפללים Christian prayer for returnis Israeli KIA
Misdar Hadar

On Sunday a special prayer was held where thousands of Christians all over the world prayed for the return of kidnapped IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. The prayer began in Australia, the Far East in the Philippines, Taiwan, and India, continued to Israel, Africa, Europe, and ended in the United States, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

In the past few weeks, with the consent of the Goldin family, a number of churches and Christian organizations from various streams around the world were invited to join an international initiative before the UN General Assembly meeting. In their appeal, the initiators noted that the Sunday before the September 23 General Assembly will be devoted to international prayer to rectify the historical injustice and return of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul who fell in Gaza. They also noted that Hadar had fallen into an ambush by Hamas two hours after the ceasefire was entered into and that the organization continued to hold soldiers who fell, in violation of international humanitarian law.

"The initiative was born out of the importance of the Christian world and the recognition that their influence in certain countries is increasing, and some countries are very attentive to the Christian voice and undoubtedly have influence. On the other hand, this is solidarity and a human step that has a place in Christian theology, and therefore we saw fit to assist in this through our acquaintance and our connection with the Christian world," said Amit Barak, one of the initiators of the appeal to the Christians.

"The responses to the appeal were positive, over 50 Christian churches and organizations from a variety of Christian denominations, and private individuals from around the world joined in, initiated, and prayed," said Amit Barak. "Among the countries from which churches and organizations were joined are Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, Taiwan, Ghana, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Costa Rica, Brazil, etc. Individuals and families from Australia, New Zealand, France, Guatemala, Holland, and other countries. A church in Houston, Texas, dedicated two trees in memorial to Hadar and Oron, a Christian organization in Germany held the prayer throughout the day singing verses from the Psalms (in German). Pictures and videos were received from believers and churches who did not register in advance. In Israel, Christian organizations initiated prayers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, in a church in the Christian village of Fassuta in the Galilee and in the Greek Orthodox Church in Capernaum.

At the Jaffa Church in the Old City of Jerusalem, Pastor David Pilgi (whose son was discharged from combat service in Givati ​​recently) led four prayers during the day in Hebrew and English in front of a sukkah that opened in the church. Some of the churches in the world have sent requests to be taken to the Western Wall," said Amit Barak.

Pastor Becky Keenan of the Gulf Meadows Church in Houston, Texas, USA, who was the first to join the initiative, said: "There are certain human conventions that are universal. The return of the bodies of those who fell after an armed conflict is such a moral act. The families deserve the proper burial of their loved ones. Political manipulation on the back of such remains is very obscene. We strongly support the International Day of Prayer and encourage decision makers to quickly return Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul."

Pastor Dr Vinod Kumar of Glory for All Nations Ministries in India said of the initiative: "We here in India love Israel in a profound way, our fate is tied up with Israel. Our hearts are with you, we remember the brave soldiers Hadar and Oron. We pray for them and their families. We love Israel and we pray for it every day."

Carmelin Ashkar and Elias Zarina of the Brit Achim Association and the Jerusalem Initiative project said: "As Israeli Christians who encourage the recruitment of Christians and their integration into Israeli society, we saw great importance in joining the initiative. It's important to us as involved Israeli Christians and parents of IDF soldiers to be part of this exciting initiative, alongside our Christian brothers and sisters from all over the world."

In Zambia Bishop Scott Mwaza, President of IPWCCAFRICA, said it was a privilege for them to participate in this prayer, while Dr. Savor Chishimba, running for the presidency of Zambia, had a private prayer in the sukkah in his yard in Lusaka, Zambia.

Pastor Dr. Kent Larter of Deerfield Presbyterian Church, New Jersey, USA "We were delighted to join you and many other churches for prayer for Oron and Hadar. It will be a great joy and relief if a concentrated effort of prayer brings God's solution to a heartbreaking situation for their families.

"The way we can fight the evil of the Hamas terror organization is to turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and therefore we join Amit and many others on the International Day of Christian Prayer," said Pastor Martin and Katrina Zeros of New Vineyard, New Buffalo, Mich., USA. "To seek the mighty hand of God for the return of the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to their families and we encourage each of you to join us in prayer."