If you’re living on planet earth, you know about war. Pictures of the devastated landscape arrest your senses. Images of the conflict’s horror cling to the screen of your mind’s cinema. Feelings of unfathomable sadness squeeze your heart into an accelerated beat.
But this war in Ukraine is different, much different, at least for me.
There is a profound and lasting impact when we see more than the images. When we actually WATCH the war unfold and unleash its ferocious devastation. When the casualties are delivered to us in cinematic proportion over a soundtrack of screaming agony.
Christians are stirred to pray during any and all wars, of course. But the current conflict in Eastern Europe has me searching for WHAT to pray more than I have ever before.
The images coming out of Ukraine, in stunningly vivid real time, actually take us there. And seeing that detail gives us the responsibility to augment our prayers for the war to end. To pray over all of that new detail we have been exposed to through the media.
What follows is my new PRAYER GUIDE that I developed this morning for wars, especially for today’s conflict in Ukraine. Here are my five parts for war-time prayers: 1) Peace; 2) Suffering; 3) Leaders; 4) Lost Souls; and 5) Hope.
Turn man’s lust for conquering into a heart for peace that comes from your spirit of love and compassion. Move the oppressors toward your forgiveness for the sin that has pelted humanity with such pain. Move them to be open to reconciliation and lead them to the path of peace that can only come through Jesus.
Protect the innocent and defenseless, heal the wounded, and sustain the homeless and hungry. Comfort those who grieve the death of loved ones. Minimize the suffering of children and shield their eyes from things no child should ever see. Give all refugees safe passage to freedom. And be with the soldiers; with the wounded; and with the peacekeepers giving aid.
Grant the leaders on both sides the wisdom to see beyond the boundaries of race, religion, and nation to that common humanity that should tie us all together as one.
FOUR: LOST SOULS
Bring those souls who are lost into your family of believers, Lord.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1
Bring hope through the Word of Christ to everyone involved in this war. Overwhelm them with that hope so they are moved to surrender to YOU. Bring us the day when all violence and war will be vanquished. Cover the earth with your glory and power and hope. Give us the peace that we cannot create. Empower your church to stand up to oppressive regimes that threaten lives. May the church in Ukraine and Russia persevere through this conflict and at all times point everyone and everything to Jesus and the forgiveness he bought for all of us on the Cross at Calvary.
Father God: While we wait for your return, give me a passion for peace and a heart for the suffering. Calm my angst over war and redirect it to passionate pleas for it to end.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What will you pray today for the war in Ukraine?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44