Prayers for Jerusalem in Israeli-Hamas War must include points of intercession: Bishop Nelvern Samuel

Bishop Nelvern R. Samuel of the Love City Church, Inc.
Photo by Cameron Hyman

An evangelical bishop in Brownsville, Brooklyn says that while he agrees with prayers of Jerusalem, amid the Israeli-Hamas War, those prayers must include the points of intercession – points of focus in prayer – from the text.

Bishop Nelvern R. Samuel – who leads Love City Church, Inc., a re-plant of his Vincentian-born father’s, Pastor Nelson Samuel, church in Brooklyn – told Caribbean Life on Monday that many people with Judeo-Christian faith foundations would agree that “the general consensus has been and is that ‘Israel is the time clock God.”

“We spend time praying for Jerusalem and her peace,” said Bishop Samuel, who was recently appointed president of the 73rd Precinct Clergy Council, popularly known as the GodSquad, stating that the source and support are from the Book of Psalms, Chap. 122, specifically verses 6-9.

“Here it is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible,” he added. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you prosper; may there be peace within your walls, prosperity within your fortresses. Because of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be with you’. Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

“I agree!” Bishop Samuel continued. “We must pray for Jerusalem, but I also believe we must include the points of intercession (points of focus in prayer) from the text.”

He said David gave us the blueprint or model prayer for Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you; peace in your walls; prosperity in your fortresses; pray for the citizens; pray for the good of the people because of the Lord’s house.”

Bishop Samuel said while the words of David’s heavenly appeal ring true about his nation, they are also true for every nation.

“David’s song was both patriotic and domestic,” he said. “Imagine if every citizen prayed for their nations in a like manner – a son of the soil praying for his homeland, which, interestingly enough, was the place where this Psalm was penned: Jerusalem,” he said.

Bishop Samuel said both David and Jesus held the home of the Jewish people in their hearts, stating that praying for Jerusalem’s peace was about the “internal issues, problems and, therefore, peace.”

He said it was a prayer, in essence, for a nation to not be torn.

To that end, he noted that the master teacher closed the chapter with a parable: “In verse 49, the servant who abused ‘his fellow servants’ was taken aback when his master returned unbeknownst to him.

“The scripture says, the master will ‘cut him in two’, in the New King James version,” he said. “Watching the split of the opinions of the Jewish people here and abroad has caused a point of pause. It has brought the words of Jesus and David back to my mind.

“Outward critique is not impressive nor substantial,” Bishop Samuel added. “I am watching and praying for the peace of a divided Jerusalem but the same for every nation in turmoil. Let us, indeed, watch as well as pray.”

He said one thing that has been revealed in the months since Hamas’ attack on Israel, on Oct. 7, “has been the degrees of hatred and malice that has spurred on what should be considered crimes of war.

“People around the world have been leaning on the insights and opinions of religious leaders, as this seems to be a religious war between the sons of Abraham, the descendants of two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac,” Bishop Samuel said. “I have heard people of Jewish descent and tradition with differing views about the act and the subsequent actions. They are very split.”

In Matthew 24, he said “the great Rabbi Jesus brings us to several points of contemplation and contention about the future of humanity in His discourse on the Mount of Olives.

“He prepares his disciples for a time to come,” Bishop Samuel said. “In that preparation, he talks about ‘wars and rumors of wars’; and how, for his disciples, they should ‘see that they are not troubled’”

In that text, he said “this famous apocalyptic phrase was coined, ‘nation will rise against nation.’”

Bishop Samuel said it is also interesting to note that the Mount of Olives was in East Jerusalem, and that “Jesus was preparing the ones who would stand before both Jew and Gentile for a war, of which no nation would be exempted, Israel included.”

Bishop Samuel – who has studied urban planning and architecture while securing degrees in early childhood education and theology – said he is passionate about loving people, no matter their place in life.

A leader of leaders, a coach, mentor, philanthropist, spiritual father, entrepreneur and an innovative visionary, Bishop Samuel sits on multiple advisory community boards in Brownsville.

He said his most recent appointment on the GodSquad allows him to oversee gun violence response by clergy, who collaborate with other crisis management groups in his police precinct.

Bishop Samuel said his passion for reaching people with the gospel has carried him and his voice to the soils of Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South Africa, and portions of Europe.

His ministry’s mantra is: “Feeding your NOW, fueling your NEXT!”

Bishop Samuel said he leads Love City Church, Inc. with his “secret weapon,” his wife, Renée Samuel, and their newest edition London Rayne.