A few short weeks ago, I returned from Israel … and today I am full of memories. Sometimes I catch myself feeling that I am still in Israel; my heart is still there.
Every time I go to the Holy Land, I see or learn something new and something unexpected. It is even more exciting that these experiences happen in places I have visited before and which I think I know well.
For example, my favourite place in all Israel is the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Many people call it the “Wailing Wall.” For me, it is the place where my heart opens wide to God and prayers for His people flow into His presence. Every time I prepare to visit Israel, I collect written prayer requests from friends and, when I reach the Wailing Wall, put their notes between the ancient stones, praying for each individual. I’m not sure why, but I always become very emotional, praying for each person with tears.
Last month in Jerusalem, I was praying at the Wall. Suddenly, I heard someone sobbing behind me. I glanced back and saw a young Jewish woman praying fervently, bowing and beating herself on the chest. She would read a few verses from it from the prayer book she held, just moving her lips and not saying the words aloud. Then she would press the book to her face and weep. Tears were streaming down her face, dripping from under the book, and the pages became wet. What was the burden did she bear? I moved back and let her come closer to the Wall. For a long while, I stood behind her and prayed that she would find refuge and peace in Jesus, Yeshua the Messiah of Israel.
How many Jewish women and men are praying before the Wall at this very moment? How many people from all over the world are there right now? The numbers are probably higher than usual because we are now in the month of Elul – the month of repentance.
Each year, Elul begins in August or September. It is a time of reflection and repentance. It is a time to prepare one’s heart ahead of the High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Jewish people search their hearts and their relationships, trying to see if they have offended someone. They ask friends and neighbours for forgiveness. Many pray interceding for those in need of healing or other kind of help from God. Repentance grows through the month of Elul as people seek favour with God, hoping for forgiveness.
How wonderful it is to know that we are forgiven!
Psalm 27 is a passage traditionally read every day during Elul: “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek’” (v. 8).
You may find it interesting to know that the word “Elul” (אֱלוּל) in Hebrew is spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed. Some consider this spelling to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” (“I belong to my Beloved and my Beloved belongs to me”) from Song of Solomon 6:3.
Let us remember that those who believe in Yeshua truly belong to Him. He is our Beloved and we belong to Him!
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