I Prayed have prayed
Lord, remember Your word to Your servants, for You have given us hope. May we remember those murdered and kidnapped on October 7 and in the subsequent conflict, even as we rejoice in those saved and returned from captivity. In Jesus’s Name.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The world changed forever on October 7, 2023. When Hamas terrorists from Gaza breached the Israeli border, they not only raped, murdered, savaged, and kidnapped Israelis from kibbutzim, homes, and a music festival, but also they shattered a nation.

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Nearly 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 250 were seized as hostages to be hidden in underground tunnels, terrorist abodes, or the homes of sympathetic Gaza residents. Of those, 43 were killed and about 120 remain under terrorist control.

Blood begets blood in the tortured Middle East. Israel’s efforts to ensure safety in the Gaza Envelope and recover the hostages through military action has poked the sleeping Goliath of global antisemitism awake again. Wrapped around a seeming humanitarian concern for civilian deaths in Gaza, the Nazi spirit is hideously displayed on U.S. campuses and in cities around the globe. A stunning disregard for and even denial of the horrors of October 7 is just one evidence of Satan’s war against Jesus and His people.

The displays of antisemitism among over-privileged students, deluded academics, and fervent radicals are provoking a reaction. As Rich Swingle reported, concern, regard, and support for Jewish people is rising in New York City, home to 1.4 million Jews.

This is birthing hope for beleaguered Jewish people and those — like myself — who love them. One such expression of support — the stage play October 7 — is a picture of hope in action.

The play, written by Phelim McAleer, is a “verbatim play,” which is a genre this playwright used successfully in his Off-Broadway play about Kermit Gosnell. That play was preceded by the film Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, produced by McAleer and his wife and collaborator Ann McElhinney.

In his program notes for October 7, Director Geoffrey Cantor described the play as “testimony — a collective sharing of traumatic memory.” The play is drawn entirely from interviews McAleer and McElhinney did in Israel.

As a journalist, McAleer told IFA he was struck by the lack of media attention on the events of October 7 itself. Nearly all major media headlines spoke of Israel’s response to the events, but little journalistic record existed of the events of that day. Fidelity to his profession compelled McAleer to conduct the interviews that comprise this gripping stage work.

The director’s vision was realized for me; I too shared in the day as the cast members spent themselves in the emotional, mental, and — in some cases — physical events of their characters’ experiences.

The suddenness and deceptiveness — many terrorists wore Israeli Defense Forces or U.S. military garb — of the attack shocked me anew. But the truly moving aspects of this play lay in the testimonies from the real people behind the characters trying to make sense of their experiences.

As a counselor who often works with those recovering from trauma, I know one of the best ways to ward off Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to “process” the traumatic events, especially in the days immediately following. “Process” is a therapy word for talking about the event, re-experiencing it in many ways, until the trauma loses much of its power. This healing dynamic — a kind of desensitization — is as powerful for nations as it is for individuals.

Counselors seek to “reframe” traumatic events for their clients so the latter can find some meaning in the events. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor, noticed that the captives who survived were the ones who discerned a purpose in their suffering. To harness this healing dynamic, Frankel developed logotherapy.

The Lord, however, holds the copyright on healing therapies. He called the Hebrew people to remember their enslavement in Egypt annually, with a focus on how the Lord delivered them. Peter, with Paul and other New Testament writers, exhort readers to allow the Lord to transform our sufferings from pain into purpose.

Another aspect of healing is bearing witness. This simple action of listening to those who tell their stories can be powerful and affirming for those telling their stories. As I participated in the March for Israel, the Nova Musical Festival Exhibition, and this play, I felt an urgency to bear witness to the Lord’s beloved Israel and her people.

Watching, listening, experiencing October 7, I grieved in a way I had not done to date. I wept for the lost and the living. Though the play focuses on Israeli survivors, as a believer, I also mourned for the perpetrators of the evil and the civilians used as human shields by Hamas.

I also found myself drawn into the hope and resilience of those characters whose testimony found them looking beyond the horror. As Frankl had discovered, it seemed the characters who found some purpose in their suffering — a reconnection to the divine — were better positioned to thrive coming out of the tragedy. One orthodox Jewish man drove into the chaos again and again, ferrying close to 100 people to safety. A young festival attendee prayed to her grandfather’s God. When she was rescued without harm, she found the seeds of faith.

Those who placed their confidence in the things of man — the Israeli army, the “impenetrable” border, the false security of trading land for peace — were crushed and unmoored. One man, whose daughter bled to death, despaired of being happy that his daughter was only murdered — not tortured through rape and mutilation.

McAleer and McElhinney plan to stage this play around the states, including at Harvard University. The New York production is running through June 16. For more information, visit www.October7ThePlay.com. Note: The play includes multiple vulgarities and retelling of traumatic events.

Rich’s interview with McAleer and two actors — René Ifrah and Rebecca Lynn Goldfarb — is at the link below.

Lord, thank You for October 7 and other opportunities to bear witness to the horrors of antisemitism. Help those who know Christ intercede with wisdom, grace, and power for all those affected by October 7. Help us to correct the record on the events leading to the current conflict in Gaza. Bring healing of all sorts to Your people, especially spiritual salvation for those in need. Open the literal and financial doors for October 7 to be produced all around the world, bringing a needed and ignored perspective to the events of that day. May Jesus be glorified.

Following are our observations after seeing the play:

Share your prayer for healing for those affected by October 7.

New York City–based Joyce Swingle is an intercessor and a contributing writer for IFA. With her husband, Rich, also a contributing writer for IFA, Joyce shares the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world through theater, speaking, writing, and film. Prior to going into full-time ministry, Joyce worked for about 20 major magazines and now works in pastoral ministry and Christian counseling. www.Richdrama.com. Photo Credit: Anton Mislawsky on Unsplash.

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Angela D.
June 13, 2024

Father, You are our Healer and our Comforter. I lift up the people of Israel who were affected by what happened in their homeland on October the 7th of 2023. Bring healing to their hearts, to their minds, and to their bodies. Comfort those who were traumatized in any way by this. As it says in Your word: Psalm 119:49-50 “Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope, 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
I thank God for this play “October 7”. I join with everyone praying for this play with the following: “Open the literal and financial doors for October 7 to be produced all around the world, bringing a needed and ignored perspective to the events of that day. May Jesus be glorified.” Amen.

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NanJohnson
June 12, 2024

Isn’t it amazing how the enemy,Satan , can convince people that don’t know God through His Savior, Jesus, that black is white and white is black!! Thank God that we know the one true forever trustworthy Lord and Savior Jesus. God is in control. We must be about the Father’s business, sharing the truth about this matter of October 7 th and sharing Christ also as the one to turn to in times like these. Jesus is the answer. To everything. Victory is ours as we turn totally to God and His will for each one.

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Priscilla Meyenburg
June 12, 2024

Joshua 1–1, 9 – I am now going to give Israel the land I promised Abraham: you will be the leader; I will give you victory over your enemy.; be strong and courageous- don’t fear; be very careful do everything I tell you; remember think about the instructions (I) have given you through the writings of Moses. I will always be with you; so; do not be in dismay, allowing stress or pressure from responsibility to overcome you. Much is happening in our world today that has potential of diving our minds, stealing our peace, we must not allow the enemy steal the peace the Holy Spirit tells us “ let peace of Christ rule in your hearts” Colossians -3-15- our prayers call out to the leaders of Israel to listen to Yahweh’s instructions. Success or failure depends on these instructions. I pray that the Word of God is their source and this will not allow the giants to steal The peace of their goals for Israel destiny. Father they are embarking on an incredible campaign to save Gods country. God we pray for the body of Christ to allow Gods peace and grace to come upon them. God we lift up prayers to not allow fear, anxiety, confusion, dismay and double -mindedness. God help them to realize They are stronger in You; I call down heavens words they are not going to yield, we will not yield. We thank God for those being rescued from the enemies hands and God will help secure and protect the others who are held captive. A decree” We decree that we, the body of Christ, will be led in prayer That Victory is just ahead in the name of Jesus sustained by the peace of God within us.”

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June 12, 2024

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Mary Beth
June 11, 2024

Just watched the headline prayer call. You and Rich and Judy were so articulate in expressing the truth, your hearts for Israel and the nations, and your intercession. I found myself simply saying on all pray – I agree!!!! Thank you for your faithfulness and your commitment to the Truth.

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Darlene Estlow
June 11, 2024

Thank you for the information about the play. May God give it many more viewers! I pray for their victory and protection against their enemies.

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BJP
June 11, 2024

Dear Heavenly Father: I know that your word says before the end their will be many who turn against Israel, even whole countries. But I know also from your word that through you and your help, they will be victorious!! I pray that Israel will see that YOU are the one fighting for them (Deuteronomy 3:22) and will come to realize you alone are their Messiah. I pray that through these conflicts, they will seek you and come back to you — your chosen ones. I thank you Father that we can stand on your promises and that you have told us in your word that we need not be afraid or dismayed because you will strengthen us, hold us up with your right hand of righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). I pray that America will stand with them and that our people will realize that your word is real and when you promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those that curse them we need to not bring your wrath upon ourselves. I as an intercessor stand in the gap for those that are so misguided by the devil and I pray for them that you will be able to change their hearts and minds. A preacher once told me that “No one has ever gotten saved except someone prayed for them” so Father I lift up all the misguided and weak minded that are allowing the devil to cloud their minds and use them that they will instead be saved and a part of your Harvest.

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    Mary Beth
    June 11, 2024

    I am always refreshed and encouraged by your prayers, BJP! You speak the heart of God that I feel stirring in my spirit as well, and I usually speak out loud – yes and amen!!

    5
      BJP
      June 11, 2024

      Thank you. We all need to stay encouraged and keep our focus on Jesus and his words. I would be lost without the scriptures. They bring me renews strength as I memorize them. Love you my sister in Christ!

      2

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