Early on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was launching a “special military operation” into Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Since then, disturbing reports and images from Ukraine have continued to come out as Russia’s large-scale invasion moves forward. Joe Carter has provided some helpful FAQs on Russia’s military incursion.
How to Pray for Ukraine
As Christians around the world process these events, and as churches pray in their gatherings this Sunday, we wanted to offer some ways to pray, along with some accompanying Scripture passages:
Pray for the safety and protection of the Ukrainian citizens and military personnel.
“God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)
Pray for Ukrainian church leaders as they care for the church members that are affected by this conflict.
“ … For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Pray for displaced missionaries as they seek to minister to those who remain in harm’s way.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Pray for the Ukrainian people to look to the gospel of Jesus Christ for hope during this challenging time.
“ … there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Pray for followers of Jesus in Ukraine to be a light for the gospel during this dark time.
“ … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Pray for God to put a stop to Russian aggression and to change Vladimir Putin’s plans in regard to Ukraine.
“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Pray that God would give leaders of the U.S. and other countries wisdom and courage as they make important decisions in the coming days and weeks.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)
Learn More About Why You Should Pray for Ukraine
For more on the background of Ukraine, Prayercast offers the following summary:
Ukraine’s Political History
“Once one of the Soviet Union’s most fertile republics, Ukraine was a major producer of Europe’s wheat and a primary source of minerals such as coal and iron. The country’s rich, black soil generated more than 25% of the Soviet’s agricultural output. Since gaining its independence in 1991, the nation has struggled to take advantage of its economic potential and remains largely dependent on Russia for oil and gas. And while Ukraine has become a mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and customs, Ukrainians continue to be a very hospitable people.
During the seventy-one years of Soviet rule, Ukraine endured engineered famines in which an estimated eight million died. The government strictly limited attempts to develop Ukrainian culture, even forbidding the study and use of the Ukrainian language. The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 continues to inflict environmental damage, disease, and death. In 2013, after the government abandoned close trade ties with Europe for more favorable ties with Russia, massive protests began with hundreds of thousands in attendance.
When the government passed anti-protest laws, the protests escalated into deadly riots. Though these laws were later annulled, fighting and unrest continued across Ukraine, resulting in a civil war that has since taken thousands of lives. In the midst of this internal chaos, Russia annexed Crimea, adding further confusion to an already divided nation. Attempts at peace and reconciliation have been largely unsuccessful. In addition, the population suffers greatly from HIV/AIDS and alcoholism. Rampant drugs, crime, and prostitution enslave many of Ukraine’s most vulnerable, including orphans.
Ukraine’s Religious History
As the “Bible Belt” of the former Soviet world, the Ukrainian Church has faced a long history of persecution. Though freedom of religion is improving, it is not yet protected in both law and practice. Leadership training and direction are greatly needed among Christians, especially with the rapid growth of thousands of new congregations since 1991. Doctrinal schisms in the Orthodox church and divisions between Catholic and Protestant believers hinder their witness. The pain suffered under Soviet rule and during the most recent conflicts has greatly divided the Ukrainian people. But even amid recent violence, the Church has responded as the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting physical and spiritual needs. This has provided increased opportunities for Ukrainians to know and follow Christ.”