It was a member of our Facebook private group that first suggested we meet together to pray in the days that followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are so grateful for the heart of this community to bring the needs of vulnerable people around the world before God. On Saturday morning a group of us met over Zoom, far from each other physically, but united in our heartbreak over the families needing to flee their homes in Ukraine as a result of war.
We know everyone couldn’t jump on a Saturday morning call with us but that you are praying, too. Here are some of the prayers we lifted up and the structure of our prayer time together. As you go before God and gather your people to pray, we thought this might be a helpful way to structure your prayers. Let us pray.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 31:1-5
O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear tomorrow,
that your spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment, and compassion
to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold them and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.
-The Archbishop of Canterbury
Prayer for the Church:
As we remember that about 70% of Ukrainians identify as Christian, let’s pray for the church in Ukraine and Christian workers in the country:
Lord, we thank you for the way you are working in this region of the world and we cry out on behalf of the Ukrainian church. Let your presence be felt in this time of fear. Comfort your children in this time of grief. Strengthen church leaders and volunteers at this time that they may shine brightly in the darkness. May their love and courage be a beacon of the peace of God amidst the horrors of war. Do a mighty work to draw people to yourself through the witness of the church in this difficult time. Amen.
Prayers of the People:
If you are praying alone, take some time to pray for each of these areas. If you are praying together, announce each area of prayer focus and ask anyone to pray aloud as they feel led or if no one prays aloud, give a few moments for everyone to pray silently for each request before moving on. Pray for:
- First, let’s pray for the people of Ukraine.
- Now, let’s pray for the people of Russia.
- Let’s pray for the leadership of Ukraine.
- Let’s pray for the leadership of Russia.
- Let’s pray for our own leaders here in the US.
- Finally, let’s pray for all the families fleeing.
We first stop to pray, but we also want to put our love into action for the people suffering as a result of violence. Here are some tangible next steps we can take to help in these early days of conflict in Ukraine.
In the face of pain, may the people of God be found at their post, on their knees in prayer. Because we know prayer isn’t just the least we can do, and prayer isn’t all we can do, but prayer is ultimately the most important work we all can do.
Because it’s calling on the One who slays all the dark, wins us all back from the mess, and cuts right through all the impossible knots of desperate things.
Where there is an invasion on earth, may our prayers war an all-out invasion on the powers and principalities, “against the rulers of darkness of this world.”
Though missiles rain from the sky this morning, rain down your mercy, Lord.
Though black smoke rises, our prayers rise higher, surer, greater.
Though explosions shatter and gunfire rattles, we hold our ground in the face of pain and we move toward the suffering, our hands reaching with bold solidarity.
Ours is a tired world, Lord, weary of suffering, weary of the dark, weary of all this heartbreak, ours is a tired world, weary for hope – raise us up with the indomitable certainty that this world is a broken one and You alone are unwavering hope, King Jesus.
Lord, hear our cry.
Comfort children who cry terrified, give courage to mothers who gather to calm, strengthen leaders who stand steady to find a way to peace.
For those who need to flee – may they find our arms a safe haven.
For those who are hungry – may they find our open hands offering bread for today and living bread for all eternity.
For all the limping, weary and wounded – may they find us holding on to each other, because when we live like we all belong to each other – we answer so much of the longing in the world…even our own.
And for all those who despair, both near and far – may they find our hands and feet today to be those of King Jesus, we who get to be His very body of peace in a hurting world today.