A Year of War: 5 Ways to Pray for Ukraine
This guide to prayer was written by a TEAM global worker who is serving on the “frontlines” of ministry to Ukrainian people.
It’s hard to believe that this week marks a full year since Russia invaded Ukraine. No doubt you’ve likely heard heartbreaking stories of millions fleeing for safety, fathers separated from their families, horrific massacres of civilians, and utter desolation in cities. How can we as the global body of Christ respond to such suffering and grief? The biggest way is by bearing the burdens of Ukrainians this week as we mark a year of pain and a year of God’s incredible work within it.
Here are some ways we can pray for Ukraine:
1. Pray for Ukrainian soldiers defending their homeland. Regardless of politics or personal stances on what aid for Ukraine should look like, we can all agree to intercede for brave Ukrainian men and women who are holding back Russian invaders on the front lines. Many of them have been fighting for months in trenches knee-deep in mud and sleeping in shifts, as enemy soldiers often strike at night when it’s too dark to be seen. Pray for stamina, good sleep, and wisdom in decision-making for Ukraine’s exhausted defenders. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to them in an undeniable way. Many Christian Ukrainian soldiers share stories of their fellow soldiers believing in Jesus after seeing Him clearly intervene on the battlefield.
Ask God to do a miracle. Ask Him to cause Russian soldiers to lay down their weapons, refuse to fight, and leave Ukraine. Pray that these men would have their eyes opened to the truth, that they’d refuse to participate in evil, and even that Russian soldiers might come to faith in Jesus through this. Let’s ask God to do beyond what we can even imagine, because we know He is able.
2. Pray for Ukrainian cities held captive under Russian occupation. Life in Russian-occupied cities is unpredictable and terrifyingly quiet. After liberating some occupied towns in the spring and fall of 2022, the unspeakable horrors of war are readily evident. Internet and phone connections aren’t always possible in occupied areas, and many citizens haven’t been able to contact relatives for nearly a year.
Pray for people surviving in these regions, and for their loved ones who are unable to communicate with them. Let’s remember these “forgotten” cities and towns in our prayers, because the Lord has not forgotten them, and ask Him to do a miracle by freeing these places.
3. Pray for pastors and volunteers caring for civilians near the front lines. It’s been incredible to hear stories of regular Ukrainian Christians risking their lives to care for people living in “hot spots” where shelling is constant. They travel over precarious bombed-out bridges or mined roads to bring food and water, to share the Gospel with people in crisis, and to offer evacuation. Often these volunteers come under enemy fire, even though their cars are marked as humanitarian aid vehicles.
Pray for protection, courage, and great wisdom for these leaders. Pray that they’d have the emotional strength to hear hard stories day after day and for sweet sleep without nightmares after witnessing horrific things on their trips to help. Pray for Ukrainian pastors and volunteers serving even as daily life for them is difficult.
4. Pray for internally displaced people. Many Ukrainians fled their homes due to bombing or occupation and live temporarily in safer cities. Imagine being forced to leave your home and move to a city you’ve never been to, likely where you know no one, for an unknown length of time. This is the reality facing nearly 7 million Ukrainians. Pray for these refugees within their own country as they seek to build a semblance of normal life in the midst of so many unknowns.
Since Russia destroyed much of Ukraine’s power grid, many Ukrainians live with regular blackouts or only have electricity for 2 hours each day. Many of these people come to local Protestant churches to receive groceries, medicine, and blankets. They stay to warm up over a hot cup of tea in a building where the lights are on from a generator. The Lord has been drawing so many internally displaced people to Himself, and they are placing their faith in Jesus. Bible studies and church services have been full as people reach for hope in impossible times. Pray for eyes to be opened to the truth of the Gospel.
5. Pray for Ukrainians in Europe waiting for the war to end. At the beginning of the Russian invasion, roughly 18 million people fled to Europe. Though more than half of those people have returned to Ukraine, still 8.1 million Ukrainians (19% of Ukraine’s total population) remain in other parts of Europe. The majority of these people are women and children. These exhausted, traumatized, and deeply grieving moms and grandmas have been navigating housing, governmental financial aid for refugees, school, and the medical system in a foreign language and country for the past 365 days.
Pray for these resilient women “single parenting” while their husbands serve in the military or have died in the war. Pray for the children who don’t understand all of what’s going on and miss their dads. Pray for these women, children, and grandparents to encounter Jesus. Pray for many to respond and place their faith in the One who is unchanging, eternal, and who promises to take our burdens and walk with us through hardship.
As we pass this one-year mark on the war in Ukraine, we invite you to join us in lifting up these people and their plights to the Lord. Let’s thank Him for how He is shielding people and answering our prayers, whether we see it or not. Let’s thank Him for how He is revealing Himself to people and saving them despite incredible evil, pain, and grief, and how He will get glory from even the sin of men who invade and destroy.
Thank you for your prayers and support as TEAM works alongside the global Church to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Through the Ukraine Refugee Relief Fund, you can helps those in greatest need.
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