As we write this, the war between Russia and Ukraine is only five days old, but more than 500,000 people have become refugees in that time, and of course many more remain in the country – some fighting, many hiding. We asked LWCCN friend Alexander Malov, who is one of those who has remained, for his thoughts:
This war has done what nobody in Ukraine could have done for thirty years of Independence, namely, unite the nation. If I may say, the war is the greatest ecumenical project, since the Church seems united as well. Everyone is involved. Some, as volunteers, help refugees. Some have entered the territorial defense forces (an hour ago a good friend of mine, an aspiring theologian, texted me that he entered the forces). Some oppose Russian propaganda via social media, posting the truth about the ongoing situation, calling Russian Christians not to believe their government and raise their voices against the war. All are praying day and night!
Concerning the environment. I’m worried about two things in particular. First, the Russian troops have exploded at least three oil tank farms (two of them in the Kyiv region). This may be a serious ecological catastrophe. Moreover, most people are busy defending their cities and cannot put out the fire. Second, yesterday Russian soldiers shot a civilian with his three German shepherds. I suppose there are many such cases when animals suffer.
And we add a prayer composed by Rev. George de Vuyst, a missionary with Resonate mission. Feel free to use this prayer yourself and to share with others. Prayer is not the least weapon we have in this time of turmoil:
Heavenly Father, we come to you with heavy hearts as we see war in Ukraine. We pray that you would be merciful on the people of Ukraine and Russia and end this war. Grant wisdom to world leaders to effectively stop evil. Allow for the truth to be known, for lies to be shown for what they are, and for evil-doers to be thwarted.
Lord, we pray for those who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods. Comfort and provide for the needs of those who have been displaced and seek refuge. Lord, we ask for mercy and we seek justice. We pray that you would be at work in both.
We pray for the day when all wars will cease and when your peaceful reign will come fully. But in the meantime, we pray that you would use us to facilitate the coming of your kingdom here and now. Help us to take action to bring peace, to care for the victims of war, and to work for justice. Help us to live according to the principles of your Kingdom today, and to remain faithful until your Kingdom comes fully at your return. Grant courage to your church in Russia, in Ukraine, and here to speak truth to power and to prophetically proclaim the truths of your Kingdom as well as the day of grace that still remains for those who repent.
Lord, we pray for Vladimir Putin. We pray that you would change his heart and work your miracle of salvation in his life. If he continues in his wicked ways, we pray that you would restrain his evil and have mercy on those who suffer because of it.
In all these things, we trust you, because you are our loving Father. We ask that you would keep us faithful by the power of your Spirit and that you would be with your church in Ukraine – that in times of war it would faithfully follow you and represent you before the nations. Heal the wounds, we pray, both physical and the wounds of the heart. Reconcile the nations with you and with each other by the power of the cross of our reigning Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.