The Psalmist enjoined us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) and Amos prophesied woe unto them that are at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1)!
For many people who have left their homelands and now live in prosperous nations like America, the greatest ill that can befall them is to become too comfortable in their Zion and forget to pray for the peace of their homeland (Jerusalem), because there will be consequences!
To most people in diaspora, there is no peace in their Jerusalem. But must they thank God for escaping the troubles in their Jerusalem for the ease and peace in their Zion?
While flying from Baltimore to Atlanta recently, I met an elegant lady in the plane and during discussion, I asked her how long she has been in the USA and when last did she visit home? Her answer was staggering and disturbing, but she said it with so much pride that you know that she has been bugged by the spirit of Zion! ‘Home?’ she exclaimed! ‘Where is home?: This is my home. I have been here since 1968! I only visited Nigeria in 1979 and that was the last unfortunate time that I visited’! I asked her, ‘do you still remember to pray for your homeland, anyway?’
In defense she asked: ‘why and what for? The leaders are corrupt and terrible; the roads are bad; the system is not working, the people are mad and bla, bla, bla…’ To her, the greatest thing that happened to her was ‘escaping’ from Nigeria and whatever happen to Nigeria is not her business… good riddance to bad rubbish! Now she is a grandma and none of her children had ever been to Nigeria, let alone her grand children. She is one of many who are not only lost in touch, but also in mind.
How many people in Zion remember to pray for the peace of their Jerusalem?
To many, this does not look like a spiritual matter since we do not have a home here on earth and our land of nativity is in heaven! We are not a citizen of the world, so why should we be concerned with the peace of our Jerusalem when we should rather strife to make heaven?
If we subscribe to this ideology, then the missionaries who put their lives on the line in spreading the gospel should rather be content with their own salvation and just wait for heaven, rather than striving to make the gospel known. It is not about the place, but about the people. We do not pray for the country, we pray for the people, for it is the people that makes the country and praying for the peace of Jerusalem means praying for the peace of its inhabitants, it is then, that the Gospel can spread. Who else can pray for the peace of Jerusalem more than its people?
There would not be a nation called Israel today if all Jews had the Zion mentality. Many times we are so heavenly conscious that we become earthly useless! Moses, despite he was a prince-preferred in the palace of Pharaoh still dared to be called a Hebrew. Daniel was so burdened about his country that he labored in the place of prayer until deliverance came to the nation. The greatness of any nation is embedded in her people and culture, but what happens to a nation whose people has been assimilated by other culture? Woe to that nation, for no one can love a nation more than its people! No one can love God more than the people of God and no one can love a child more than the parent!
If Americans don’t love America, she will not be a proverbial land flowing with milk and honey for many to run to today. If we do not love our Jerusalem, nobody will love it for us! We are not to change it, but to pray for it. You live in a land prayed for by citizens of that country, a land many are willing to die for to protect her greatness, but you are unwilling to pray for your own. Thank God the founders of such nations did not have your spirit; there would be no such place for you to run to.
Nehemiah was comfortable as the king’s cup-bearer in his Zion, a prosperous foreign power nation of Persia. Everything was fine for him: a captured slave, now serving in the king’s palace. What better position could he ever desired? His country was in ruins, the wall was broken down, the temple was destroyed and the people left were dying of hunger and starvation. He could give thanks to God for enlarging him and putting him in such a lofty height in Zion and forgetting about the past and pressing on to the future, but he chose not to, but rather to weep and pray for her, until deliverance came. He was not only concerned with the temple, but even the sepulchure!
Many deliverers who could have led their people to victory and triumph had given up their identity and have been swallowed up by their Zion? Joseph in Egypt could have forgotten all about his people in Israel going by all the havocs they did to him. Moses could have been carried away with the power, position and prosperity of the throne. Nehemiah could have done the same, but they chose to remember the sons of who they were! They preferred to pray for their Jerusalem, rather than to enjoy the peace and ease of Zion!
Nehemiah would not only pray for the peace of Jerusalem, he was so concerned about it that he felt he had a role to play in its redemption. At the slightest opportunity, he would always ask for the state of his country, the temple, the wall and the people and would always pray, despite that he was comfortable where he was at.
Could this be said about many natives in diaspora? Many are too happy leaving their countries and going to America or other advanced nations of the world where there is security, food, plenty, job, etc and they care less about whatever happened to their country. For all they cared, they had ‘escaped’ and it didn’t matter what happened to anyone there?
Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion! For the sake of the people, please, pray for your Jerusalem! For it takes people for every vision to be accomplished! God is always looking for a man to go for Him.
I was travelling to West Palm Beach in December 2008 in company of a wonderful brother and sister Sheats, who came to pick me up from Miami. Suddenly, I began to cry as we made through the toll and automatic toll fee was made from a prepaid ‘Sun Pass’ ticket placed on the dash board for the device to detect on the turnpike road, linking all the huge cities and states together in a massive road network devoid of pot holes, armed robbers, accidents and some trailer drivers who would just decide to block the road because it is Friday and they want to pray and the government can do nothing or because of a protest from a cartoon they never saw, which purportedly speak evil of their prophet!
I didn’t know when I busted into crying, but I wept more inside than I cried outside. I wept for my country! Not because it is at a very low ebb of development, (we must not despise the days of small beginnings), but because of the waste of the abundant resources God has blessed her with, being squandered by her rulers, not leaders. But instead of the children of God to pray, they run away to countries whose people were at one time or the other in such situation but prayed to overcome it!
Nigeria is about one of the richest countries in the world, but Nigerians are about one of the poorest people in the world. Where you see people dying in the midst of plenty, there is a presence of high demonic forces at work. It takes only prayer to bring deliverance and that is why we must pray for the peace of our Jerusalem!
As troubled as Israel is today as a nation, Jews all over the world still go back ‘home’. Nehemiah did not fix people up in employment and positions in Zion, he led them back to Jerusalem to pray, work and build the broken down city. That is the reason why there is Israel today!
I visited a sprawling house in Washington, DC, that even to the Americans, it is more than ordinary. I couldn’t but acknowledge the magnificence, opulence and ambience of the edifice. It could have been mistaken for the white house. An American man present said it was perhaps the biggest mansion he had ever seen and that not even the president of the USA can afford to leave in such a house! That should give you the picture I cannot describe to you for want of words. I was amazed to learn that it was owned by a Nigerian! A non-functional house, just to display an ill-gotten wealth! That explains the vainness of our leaders. If we do not pray for them, we will be a prey to them (1Tim2:1-3).
I wept on the highway because most of our leaders travel on these roads and they see how it is, yet nothing spurs them to do something except to steal. When they get to these countries, they comply with the laws, but they are wont to break the laws at home. Does this not suggest a demonic prince lording it over us? Why must you be at ease in your Zion when you can pray for your Jerusalem? Remember, God will do nothing, except in answer to prayers. If no one prays, God will do nothing!
How many people die daily of preventable sicknesses and diseases, hunger, starvation, etc and you are there at ease with your comfort? You cannot feed them, but you can pray for them. You don’t need to fast or go to the mountain to pray, just remember them and say a word of prayer to God on their behalf (Mk.11:24).
Recent killings in Jos, Plateau state of Nigeria look so ordinary but we know it is not. Thousands of Christians were slaughtered like animals on what was described as a ‘religious riot’. Many churches were burned. Many families have been thrown into peril, many children rendered orphans and you still will not pray! It could have been you, it could have been me (Lk.13:1-5)!
You are where you are at by God’s providence, if you do nothing, deliverance will still come to your Jerusalem (Esther 4:12-14), but woe unto them that are at ease in Zion!