You probably have heard by now that the President of the Russian Federation has declared war on its smaller and peaceful neighbor, Ukraine. What has been building for months – cloaked in sinister euphemisms and deceit – has given way to open war as Russian missiles and artillery bombard cities, and invading troops pour across the border.
As I write this, Ukraine is feeling the full brunt of the Russian armed forces. With this post, I’d like to call on American Christians to pray.
Here are three reasons.
First, this war will surely bring about massive destruction and human suffering for the people of Ukraine. In a war like this, it is not only soldiers who will die. Cities will be destroyed and villages will be wiped from the earth and law and order in this normally peaceful country will be massively disrupted. Refugees and displaced persons will flee across the borders of the countries that neighbor to the West, and we are seeing this even now. Homelessness will abound, and many will likely freeze. As I preached in a sermon a few weeks ago, Christians care about this kind of suffering, so we should pray for Ukraine.
Second, pray because the world is much smaller than it sometimes feels. Ukraine is a long way away from Nebraska and many of us have never been there. Some would have difficulty finding it on a map. But history teaches us that wars like this in Europe seldom stay a long way away. Pray to the Lord, the one who is Sovereign over nations, that this war does not lead to a much greater war, involving many more countries, and bringing about catastrophic suffering and loss of life in the world.
Third, pray for Ukraine because our brothers and sisters are there. The church in Ukraine will surely suffer during this war. Pray for the believers and for their families. Pray for ex-pat missionaries who have decided to remain (I know a few personally!), and for the witness of Christ in the region. Pray for those who will soon enter a season of persecution, that they might have the strength and that they remain faithful to Jesus, and that many others will “become much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Phil 1:14)” on account of their faithfulness.
My brothers and sisters, I urge you to pray for Ukraine.