Church, the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and is even intensifying. In response to the ongoing crisis, the Kyiv Theological Seminary has put out a statement, which begins with Isaiah 41:10. The scripture reads:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The seminary has urged both their own citizens and the rest of the world not to panic, for fear equals paralysis, while prayer, trust in God, and love of neighbor give strength. They have asked churches around the world to pray for peace.
Our own denomination, the United Church of Christ (UCC), has also joined in that call for prayer, crying out for peace. The offers of the UCC have issued a call for the de-escalation of violence and a return to diplomatic negotiations, the only true way conflict ever ceases. In fact, they declared this past Sunday a day of collective prayer for the conflict in Ukraine, urging us all to pray throughout the day for peace and protection against the evils of war for the people whose lives and wellbeing are in danger.
Friends, let us answer that call to pray for peace. Today, I invite you to lift up this prayer, written by our denomination’s officers, as well as the prayers of your own heart. Let us pray for the peace that only God can bring.
Hear our prayers for all those who will die today because of war in Ukraine and other war-torn countries all over this world. Grant them an end to the suffering of this world and eternal peace that is only found in You.
We pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and all nations — that war and bloodshed can be avoided and a new, just peace can be forged out of this crisis. We ask God grant wisdom to the leaders of nations, calling them to end provocation on all sides and invest instead in “the things that make for peace” as called for in all our faith traditions (Luke 19:41-2).
We pray for an end to the deep insecurity and mistrust on all sides, and call on leaders to build trust, based not on military might or alliances, but on the basis of our shared future and common humanity. Now is a time in which past harm should be acknowledged and addressed, and new partnerships can be envisioned.
We pray for and call on our leaders to have the courage to take small, verifiable, and independent steps toward peace, inviting others to reciprocate. Now is time to invest in conflict resolution, diplomacy and international cooperation — not more weapons which only escalate tension in the region.
Be with those suffering in ways that we cannot.
Protect them from devastation in ways those positioned in authority will not. Shield and comfort them as they confront the terror of violence that surrounds them. Hold them close to your heart and stay the hand of the enemies against them. Give us the courage and the strength to cry aloud against wickedness in high places that dare to harm others made in your image.
Comfort the children and heed their cries to be saved from harm in this world.
Make us a people who love our children, all of our children, more than we love greed, power, and control. Overturn governments of tyranny wherever they are found. Disrupt the intentions of evil and give us power to stand against demonic forces of greed and control. Grant that peace and justice come to warring nations by the hands of those courageous enough to stand and study war no more. Let Thy kin-dom come on earth as it is in heaven, we pray.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Please note, the Central Union Church office is in the process of reopening in accordance with city guidelines. We are committed to carefully moving through this process for the health and safety of our church and our community. Mahalo for your patience as we work our way through this gradual process. Stay safe and centered in God!