Messianic Jew Prays for Victims of Synagogue Shooting, Prompting Controversy

Rabbi Loren Jacobs prays for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. (C-SPAN Screen Capture)

Messianic Jewish Rabbi Loren Jacobs led prayers for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at a Republican rally in Michigan with Vice President Mike Pence. Jacobs' prayer triggered a firestorm of social media outrage by many who felt it was insensitive to let a Messianic Jew lead a prayer in response to an anti-Semitic crime.

At the rally, Jacobs prayed for the United States as a nation as well as the individuals affected by the shooting:

God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God and Father of my Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and my God and Father too, You are real and You know everything. And You are powerful and You are good and You are able to hear and answer prayer. Please hear and answer my prayers now, O Lord my God.

Your divinely inspired and true Word tells us that unless You build the house, the builders are wasting their efforts. They are building in vain. A political party is like those builders. For success, the people in that party need to know You and Your ways. Sovereign Lord, you are in control of all things. You put men and women into positions of power, and You remove them from positions of power. I pray that You would raise up men and women who know You and Your ways and place them into positions of power and influence in the Republican Party and in other political parties and in offices throughout our local state and federal governments. Bless us with men and women who know You and Your ways and have good character and integrity.

I pray for our nation. ... I pray You would comfort all those who are mourning because of those who were wounded and killed. Lord, please work so that instead of division in our nation, there is unity and peace. Instead of hatred, there is love.

Jacobs was reportedly invited not by Pence but by Lena Epstein, a Jewish Republican candidate for the House of Representatives.

In a statement on Twitter, Epstein wrote, "I invited the prayer because we must unite as a nation—while embracing our religious differences—in the aftermath of Pennsylvania. Any media or political competitor who is attacking me or the vice president is guilty of nothing short of religious intolerance and should be ashamed. This was an effort of unity, yet some are trying to create needless division to suit their politics goals. Now is the time for people of all faiths, of all religions, to come together as one and reject hate and religious divisions."

Several on social media disagreed with Epstein's position and took issue with Jacobs' appearance at the rally. Rafael Shimunov, a Jewish activist, explained on Twitter why Jacobs' speech sent the wrong message to many.

In 2012, Loren Jacobs shared his testimony of coming to Jesus on YouTube.

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