Can a Jew pray effectively for a believer?
There are arguing sides of this equation. Many protestant (organizations and individuals) throughout history have referred to Jews spitefully ... a very foolish thing to do. So, naturally, when it comes to any type of ministry towards them it carries a flavor of malice. Christians throughout history have repeatedly ignored the suffering of Jews, and in some measure have watched it with approval.
We need to always keep Romans 11 in mind when considering our Jewish brothers. Here are some verses from that chapter that are vital for us when considering our relationship.
Rom 11:1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, :3 "LORD, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS AND TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY SEEK MY LIFE"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I HAVE RESERVED FOR MYSELF SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. 7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
Rom 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; 27 FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."
Rom 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Rom 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
Unlike the belief of many Christians, our Jewish brothers are still the chosen people. God has blinded His people in order to provide the rest of the world with hope for redemption. He has not cast them away. He is no less aware of their plight now then when they were in bondage in Egypt.
Simply put, show some respect. We better not dare participate or celebrate in or for any of the struggles our Jewish brothers have faced, are facing, or will face. Instead, we are to remember and tread very carefully .. if God would sacrifice His beloved for us, then we would do well and wise to consider what He might do to us for others or in response to our pride.
God will restore sight to His children. So those who have been hardened are not lost, nor are they cast away. This is all part of a plan of redeeming His creation that goes way beyond anything we can ascertain or comprehend ... His justice is perfect, and we, as flawed creatures, just cannot understand perfect. So our best move is to honor His children and their sacrifices and struggles.
Every verse in this chapter is extremely important. Many are constantly taken out of context (especially that last one.) God's covenant with Abraham was (and is) an eternal covenant. God has not stopped loving the Jews. We often forget that we are the adopted brothers in this trio (Israel, Ishmael, and the Christians).
- I believe that when the Bible says that "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry... (Psalms 34:15)" it means that whenever a child of God prays, He hears and responds regardless of whoever he or she is praying with (within reason - we shouldn't be allowing ourselves to be united in prayer with anyone who denies God His sovereignty). Corey Ten Boon's father, Casper, was known for asking the Jews hiding in his home from the Nazi's to pray the blessing over the meals.
- I believe that God hears the prayers of Jews, just not in the way He hears ours (through Jesus). But they are His children under the covenant He made with Abraham.
- I furthermore believe that by showing honor to the Jewish people and respecting the great losses they have experienced under the Law in order to give us hope, it brings joy to God and He will bless us for it.
- I also believe that only through Christ is the forgiveness of sins ... I do not believe or give any credit to the notion of an alternate sanctification as some main stream preachers teach. How God is going to accomplish His word is up to Him, not me. As it has been said by others, "If I can understand all things God, then He is not God."
- I believe that in God's limitless wisdom and love for us His plan will be revealed and that we cannot know or understand how ... we cannot know the mind of God ... but we can have the mind of Christ. I think people often forget that Jesus was a Jew, and that the first Christians were Jews.
So to answer your question as honestly as I can, I believe that God hears the prayers of Jews who love Him and seek Him, though have not yet recognized the Messiah as Jesus. If God will hear a prayer, then to me, it is effective. If you pray and believe as a believer falling under the righteousness (bought and paid for) of Christ, then it is effective."The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16