Israel’s state telephone company inaugurated its Christian prayer line to Jerusalem this weekend with a taped message from former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and live pronouncements from prominent evangelists.
Christians and Jews were on hand at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here to “christen” the project, and Christian dignitaries from around the world joined the proceedings by phone or recorded messages.
Among the Americans who rose in the wee hours of the morning Sunday to participate in the program were former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and television evangelists Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham.
The new prayer line is a joint venture between the Jerusalem Christian Review, Israel’s leading Christian newspaper, Bezek Telecommunications, Israel’s national telephone company, and several Christian organizations based in Jerusalem.
The new Christian prayer line comes after Bezek introduced a new facsimile service earlier this year for Jews around the world wanting to have their messages inserted into the Western Wall.
“Although there are many prayer lines around the world,” says Dan Mazar, administrator of the Christian Review, “only this one links Jerusalem to the rest of the world.
“The Jerusalem prayer line will be the first to offer Christians throughout the world the opportunity to commune with their Christian brothers and sisters who live in the Holy City,” he said.
According to Grant Livingston, the program’s prayer adviser, trained volunteers from Christian congregations in Jerusalem will staff the line 24 hours a day.
“The caller will tell the prayer counselor his or her problem and pray for the Lord’s help for its solution. People should call whenever they feel the need to join in prayer, or whenever they have a question that needs to be answered,” Livingston said.
Virtually all those who spoke, either in person at the inauguration ceremony or by phone, prayed for world peace and especially for the peace of Jerusalem.
Many shouted “Amen” as Kemp proclaimed, “My prayer today is that Jerusalem remain a united city. It must always be united, never divided. Jerusalem is a city holy to all religions.
“It is our obligation not only to offer prayers for Jerusalem’s protection, but to recognize that Jerusalem must never be divided again.”
Bezek officials said six additional phone services will be introduced shortly.
One Israeli quipped, “We have Fax a Kvitel, now Dial a Prayer. What’s next? Message the Mosque?”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.