Much of the world increasingly stands horrified watching President Vladimir Putin’s tyranny and brutality unleashed upon the people of Ukraine. The 24/7 news and Internet feed of displaced women and children crossing neighboring borders as refugees confronts us as we begin to settle into the reality of war. Husbands and fathers remain behind as they take up arms to defend their homes and cities. Destruction and death are the dominant themes in a country that for some 30 years enjoyed liberty, peace, and the pursuit of prosperity.
In response, there are calls for diplomacy, increase supply of arms, sanctions, and more declarations of condemnation from heads of state and world organizations. Many believe we are reliving the 1930s and 40s. We know that there are many questions regarding the fate of Ukraine that will for a season remain unanswered. How long can they withstand the overwhelming weight of the Russian military? What are our options to be exercised that will ensure that liberty and peace return to these people?
During the dismal days of the early 40s when hopelessness darkened the door of the people of Great Britain people turned to prayer. An archive of TIME reminds us of the following:
“British clergymen and newspapers commented last week on certain possibly metaphysical aspects of World War II:
Since the beginning of the war, Great Britain has observed two National Days of Prayer. The first was the dark Sunday, May 26, 1940, when the fagged-out British Expeditionary Force was fleeing under torrential Nazi fire toward Dunkirk beach. Five days later most of that Army got safely home through the fogs off Dunkirk.
The Second Day of Prayer was Sunday, March 23, 1941, when Adolf Hitler’s Balkan advance seemed to have the implacable flow of volcanic lava. Four days later came the upset in Yugoslavia. The same week came the British capture of Cheren and Harar, the Italian naval defeat in the Mediterranean. Twice Britain’s prayers had been answered.”
The early days of WWII looked dismal for Europe as Hitler’s military overwhelmed France and Great Britain forces pushing them to the beaches of Dunkirk where they hoped to cross the English Channel. Churchill felt that with luck maybe 20,000 troops could be transported out of more than 300,000. The Germans were relentless in attacking by air the trapped men waiting to escape. It was at this depressing and deflating time that Churchill met with King George VI who informed the prime minister, “We must pray.… This next Sunday, I’m calling for a national day of prayer.”
On the May 26, 1940, millions of people gathered throughout Great Britain in repentance seeking God’s help. There are pictures of large numbers queuing outside Westminster Abby in response to the call to prayer. What happened in the days that followed — when more than 300,000 that were transported across the Channel to safety — is a reminder that, at minimum, prayer is needed for the people of Ukraine.
I am sure that many are praying. Some churches and communities are dedicating themselves to praying that our God delivers the people of Ukraine from their present horror inflicted by President Putin.
It is with a concern that we persist or begin, if we are not praying, that I humbly offer the following.
Prayer for Ukraine
Our sovereign and loving Father in Heaven,
In humility and with deep sorrow and horror at the daily news of the suffering, loss of life, and freedom in Ukraine, we ask that you, O Sovereign Father will hear our prayers.
The cries of the nations are before you. President Vladimir Putin, along with his Russian leaders has acted on their wicked conspiracy to unleash hostility, death, and disregard for life and liberty upon the people of Ukraine. We ask that you O’ Lord would hear the desperate voices of Ukrainian men, women, and their children forced out of their homes and communities daily dying from the brutal hand of President Putin. We plead that you would restrain and frustrate his ability to exercise plans of darkness. We plead that you would change his destructive heart and that of his co-conspirators. Open their eyes to see their depravity and hate for you, your will. Change the cold hearts of stone to that of repentance and sorrow for what they have done.
Sovereign Father, hear our prayers.
We ask that you would provide your comfort and grace to the Ukrainian people during their time of tragedy. Give these people adequate food, clothing, and housing. In all ways provide for them. Give them the spirit of perseverance and hope in such times as these. Deliver these people from the oppression and death that is being unleashed upon them by President Putin.
Sovereign Father, hear our prayers.
We ask that the watching nations would not stand quietly by while the Russian forces have their way with these suffering people. Give the world the absence of soul peace and peace of mind as long as world peace is absent. Give us the wisdom, determination, and skill to respond in such a manner that Ukraine and her people will be restored to their position of security and liberty.
Sovereign Lord, hear our prayers.
In the Name of our Savior who suffered for the world, Amen.