Opinion. Observation. Application.
Hand Carved Olive Wood Nativity From Bethlehem Has Provided Lessons in Prayer
The Nissan’s New Bethlehem Store in Israel is a special place. They employ Christians to create master carvings of Biblical characters and scenes. Bethlehem is officially a Palestinian State. Hamas has slowly been pressuring the Christians in Bethlehem to get out. George Nissan, the patriarch of the Nissan family told me a little over a year ago there are only 160 Christian families left in Bethlehem. “Pastor Marc,” George Nissan said, “Have people pray for Bethlehem.” During our February 2017 Tour of the Holy Land, George’s sons, Chris and John worked it out for us to receive their premier hand carved nativity by their master carvers. The actual “acquisition” began through our long time dear friend, David Alldridge. David was on the Tour with his wife, Joyce, and the salesman at the store was working with David on a negotiation when it broke off. Chris Nissan asked me to see if his salesman wasn’t connecting. I found out that David liked it but it wasn’t going to work for them. Some how as I reported the information to the Mr. Nissan, I became interested in the Nativity. The bottom line was we were able to get the entire Nativity for a little more than the shipping cost to our home/office in Goshen, Indiana. The day after it arrived and we had it set up in our bay window next to my roll top desk, God spoke to my heart. I felt God saying, “The reason you have the Nativity is to pray for the people it represents.” As I picked up each piece, the Holy Spirit spoke to me who/what it represents in my future prayers. Each day since, as I hold each piece and pray as God directed me, it gives me a sense of hope for the lost souls in our world. I thought it was important to share the prayerful (hopeful) direction God shared with me:
Mary represents the Mothers. We need to pray for Mothers. (Especially single Moms).
Joseph represents the Fathers. We need to pray for Dads. (Dads would step up).
The baby Jesus represents the children. We need to pray for children. (Protection, safety, and they would come to Christ as early as possible in their lives).
The Manger represents the unborn. We need to pray for the unborn children. We need to intercede on behalf of the unborn. We need to pray for people who have had abortions. (They suffer in silence thinking they can never be forgiven. May God forgive and affirm his forgiveness in their hearts).
The Angel in the Nativity represents those people who need miracles in their lives. Pray that God would do something so great in the lives of others that only HE gets the credit for it! We need miracles so that we have powerful testimonies to point people to Jesus!
The Wise Man with gold represents the wealthy of our world. We need to pray for the wealthy to come to the Lord.
The Wise Man with the Myrh represents the intellectuals. We need to pray for the intellectuals to come to the Lord.
The Wise Man with the Frankincense represents the powerful, successful, self-made people. We need to pray the self made and powerful come to the Lord.
The Shepherd represents the down trodden, the poor, the poverty stricken, the paycheck to paycheck worker. We need to pray that our human condition (whatever it is) doesn’t get in the way of God.
The goat represents the stubborn. We need to pray for stubborn people.
The bull represents the bullies. We need to pray that all the bullies and those who struggle over power and control come to the Lord.
The donkey represents the asses. We need to pray for those hard to get along with, those who you struggle with, those you don’t know how to deal with….
The sheep represents the LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL. We need to pray for Israel. We need to pray blessing upon the Jewish people. We need to pray they come to Jesus!
The cave itself represents (through the hand carved olive wood trunk) the Arab nations on the earth–especially those caught up in the deceit and deception of Islam. We need to pray that all people of all nations (and of all religions) will come to Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”