One: Intercede for our sisters and brothers in Ukraine
Seventy-eight percent of Ukrainian adults, or about thirty-five million people, are Orthodox Christians.
Let’s ask God to protect and provide for them and their families. And let’s pray for God to use their faith and witness in this crisis to lead many to himself.
Ephesians 6:18 NIV And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
When we pray for our fellow believers, we join Jesus in his intercession for his church.
Romans 8:34-39 NIV Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Emphasis mine)
Two: Pray for all leaders
1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (Emphasis mine)
Pray for Ukrainian, European, and American leaders to have divine wisdom, courage, and perseverance as they respond on behalf of those they serve.
This also means that no matter how you feel about the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the Russian military’s actions we should pray for repentance for Vladimir Putin and others who are instigating this horrific conflict. If he can transform Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle, he can do with anyone who repents and turns to him.
Acts 9:1-6 NIV Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Three: Seek ways to help the victims
Jesus taught us that how we treat those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, or imprisoned is how we treat him.
Matthew 25:34-40 NIV “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
War always creates such victims. Look for ways you and your church can help those in danger and the millions of refugees who are expected to flee Ukraine in the coming days.
Four: Oppose our greatest enemy
Jesus described Satan as “the thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy”.
John 10:10 NIV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (emphasis mine)
As a result, wherever we find theft, murder, and destruction, we can know Satan is at work. He uses people and nations as his instruments of malice, but ultimately “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against ... the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”
Ephesians 6:12 NIV For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Christians are called to the front lines of this spiritual battle, a conflict we can win only on our knees.