I have been upset, angry and frustrated with the developments in Ukraine from a few weeks back to today. The bullying of a smaller weaker nation by another; the betrayal of guarantees by UK, USA and Russia when Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal; the defiant and blatant invasion by a superpower of a neighbouring independent nation. I kept fretting and praying for sanity, self-control and peace. It frustrates and angers me no end at what Putin has done, and I pray for his downfall and of all evil despotic leaders. I wondered if the leaders were two women instead of two men, would there be a better chance of peace prevailing?
Last night I saw a Netflix video “Winter On Fire” about Ukraine and how at great cost the Ukrainian people’s persistent protests saw a pro-Russian president step down and leave the country, and new elections called by the parliament. I don’t fully comprehend the complexity of the political and security background but surely invading another country because you are bigger and more powerful goes against the norms of international relations. Who will be next then? The Baltic states? China invades Taiwan? From time immemorial more powerful nations expand their boundaries with no country or international body able to be act as policeman and defender of the weak and small.
“There shall be wars and rumours of wars”. “Nations will rise up against nations”. Jesus words in Matt 24 echo again and again through the corridors of history. Wars have been happening throughout time. However the frequency of wars and conflicts along tribal or ethnic and religious lines has multiplied. It does not mean we should be indifferent to them since this was predicted anyway and would happen. As believers we are blessed if we are peacemakers. And we are also called to pray for leaders of nations and for peace for all peoples so the world would be a better place. Furthermore, this would mean that the gospel can spread freely and without hindrance. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4). So what can we pray for in this Russia-Ukraine war?
How To Pray
God to deliver Ukraine from evil invasion and to rescue this newly independent nation.
For the world leaders to have courage to do what is right, compassionate and just.
For God to step in to defend and support the weak, small and bullied.
For the church in Ukraine to be faithful as salt and light in the midst of corruption and darkness. For the largely Orthodox church to experience revival.
Try Imprecatory Prayer
We can also use an imprecatory Psalm 35 to unknot some of our anger and the sense of injustice and helplessness we feel. Change words to make them relevant to Ukraine. Example: change “me” to “Ukraine”.
Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor;
arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin
against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
“I am your salvation.”
May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,
may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
and delight in his salvation.
My whole being will exclaim,
“Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
the poor and needy from those who rob them.”
Praying In Tongues
Those who have the gift of tongues can begin by praying, Lord I do not know what to pray for. I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me to intercede about this war as I pray in tongues. Before starting, you can set your mobile timer to five or ten minutes and pray in tongues for that time period.