Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Psalm 122:6-7 (KJV)
Throughout the past several thousand years, Israel has often been the center of international controversy. It seems as if spiritual battles over that land are still triggering events in world politics today. With this in mind, it is good to be reminded that God tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” in Psalm 122:6, above.
Older translations often complete this verse by saying that God “would prosper those who do so.” The idea that God would make us wealthy for caring for his people is actually a mistranslation of the word shalvah, which doesn’t mean “prosperity,” but actually “ease,” “security” or “freedom from worry.” The NIV now translates this verse in the following way:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
Listen to how the words gently roll off your tongue in Hebrew:
Shalu shalom Yerushalaim, yishla’u ohavaikh.
You can hear the alliteration, as the soft sound of the “sh” is used in the words shalu (ask, pray), shalom (peace), Yerushalaim (Jerusalem), and yishla’u (security, tranquility). You can also sense the closeness of the parallel ideas of shalom (peace, well-being) and shalvah (tranquility, security, ease). The message of the verse is that those who care about God’s children in that troubled land will find tranquility themselves.
Why? God has chosen Israel for a purpose that is will not be fulfilled until the end of the age. The people there experience the ongoing struggle within all of humanity, spiritually. They are no better and no worse there than the rest of the world, and when we pray for God’s shalom to be established there, we are praying for ourselves as well.