Ukraine

The international news is truly shocking.

Although we had rumors and suspicions that an invasion of Ukraine was planned, we did not think it would come so swiftly; even young Russian soldiers were reportedly surprised that this was more than just a military drill.

There will be many, if not all of us, who have troubled hearts as we observe with horror the attack by Russia on Ukraine that is an act of evil, which threatens the relative peace and security that Europe has enjoyed for so long.

One nation’s brutal, cynical, and indiscriminate attack on a free, democratic nation has provoked righteous outrage, sanctions, and condemnation, and it should agree to an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of its forces.

As Christians, we find ourselves praying for the innocent, the frightened, and those who have lost loved ones, homes, and families – and also for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Likewise, we are praying for God to intervene in the whole nightmare on both sides of the border. Our great comfort is our faith in God, that He loves us, cares for us and has ongoing plans for our lives.  Not only does He have plans, but He has the power to do the things that He has purposed.

In the midst of great turmoil and chaos God remains constant, the Rock that we can hold on to.  As things have unfolded, several old Pentecostal teachings have made people curious and end-times narratives are making their way into everyday conversations (1 Chronicles 12:32). What is God up to, what on Earth is happening?

Despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine being beyond words, Putin has threatened nuclear options, which aren’t helpful and write a terrifying chapter in history. Although the bible does not directly address nuclear war, it does not mention refrigerators or electric cars either. Whilst we aren’t in danger of the extremes, we can imagine, if you are in Ukraine, this is already a horror beyond anything we can imagine.

What is God saying or doing?

Is God revealing anything to me about what’s happening in Ukraine under the Russian military’s control? I have prayed about it and asked and the answer is that I think I am too caught up in the media’s portrayal of all the activity to be sensitive enough to perceive God clearly. It is easy to fall into the trap of prophesying out of the obvious (looking at what is happening and extrapolating a conclusion or outcome). For me, I think what we say has consequences, and in recent years I have tried to follow the example of “speaking when you are spoken to”; that is, if God is not speaking, then neither should you.

While observing the horrors of the conflict, I have a few thoughts running through my head. In this situation, we must urgently pray that Ukraine’s believers will listen to the voice of the Lord to remain strong and spread the gospel regardless of all that is going on around them. Prayer is the best thing you can do: pray for them as if you were experiencing it. The first thing that God is showing me/us is that as Christians, our response to a crisis must be rooted in prayer and especially that the church will still stand by its faith and that no matter how young or old, the church will remain faithful to its Christian convictions.

Pray for “all the saints” in Ukraine.

Around 35 million Ukrainians, 78 percent of them Orthodox Christians, live in the country. The apostle Paul encourages us with all perseverance to be making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18). This is about relentless prayer. One day we may need them to return this favor and common grace for us. Let’s not forget about the Churches in Russia; they are also our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We pray God will protect, provide for, and lead many to himself through their faith and witness during this time of crisis.

Pray for the rulers of Ukraine.

Paul also wrote,“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) which speaks of a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. It’s a high calling, and to accomplish it in relative peace in the West is a noble endeavor, but it’s crucial for Ukraine at this time.

Be sure to pray that President Putin repents, and that Ukrainian, European, and American leaders have divine wisdom, courage and perseverance as they respond to those they serve.

Specifically;

  • Please pray for God’s guidance as they decide how and whether to resist the Russian invasion.
  • Pray for a more substantial unity between all Christian denominations during this trying time.
  • During these tough times, pray God will inspire and strengthen the churches to serve the communities in a meaningful way.

Help where you can

We should treat those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, or imprisoned as Jesus did (Matthew 25:35-40). War inevitably creates innocent, frightened and terrified victims. Find ways for you and your church to assist those in need and the millions of refugees who will leave Ukraine this summer.

Don’t be shaken

Keep your eyes on the Lord at this time, make Him the magnificent obsession of your heart and use these awful moments as opportunity for you to press in to God with a new sense of intimacy knowing the embrace, safety and security of the Father’s heart — knowing more and more what it means to be “in Christ” — whilst calling out to Him on behalf of your friends, brothers and sisters of the Church in Ukraine and also, in Russia.

JonYou may wish to speak with a church leader if you are feeling overly anxious so they can pray for you and see if there are other parts of the Church life you might find encouraging and comforting. 

In the face of war