The Lord is my light and my salvation - Whom shall I fear?
The following prayers and Bible verses were given by Pete and Anne Woodcock to encourage the church in praying particularly for the conflict in Ukraine.
As we think of the people of Ukraine, may we also be encouraged to pray for other areas of the world where similar conflicts have been raging over many years.
The prayers here are divided into four sections, guided by relevant scriptures to remind us of God’s sovereignty in every part of this situation.
1. The World situation and the reality of what Jesus said.
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
We want to thank you for the Lord Jesus, our Saviour, and Redeemer.
We thank you for His Word, which is trustworthy, and which enables us to have complete confidence in his promises. Our confidence must not lie in the things of this world, such as our families, or material prosperity, nor in the assumption that life will carry on normally day by day. Our confidence lies in the Lord.
For many people in Europe there has been a tragically rude awakening to the reality of war, and we think of them in their pain, and in their grief. Experience tells us that for many years, conflicts such as this continue to rage all over the world, in places like Afghanistan, Gaza and Syria.
So, this morning, help us to take stock of the world situation. May we hear clearly these words of Jesus, and may we be reminded again to put our confidence in Him alone.
In this coming week and over the next months, encourage us, as your people to share the truth that Jesus is the only solid rock on which we can stand, not only in this world, but in the world to come.
2. God is in control.
The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
his eyes examine them.
5 The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
6 On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulphur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
7 For the Lord is righteous,
he loves justice;
the upright will see his face.
19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
We praise you that you are sovereign; that kings are raised up and put down by you; that all of their power is very fleeting, and only allowed, by you, for the working out of your purposes.
We praise you that you know and observe everything on earth. No atrocity, nor deception escapes your sight. Neither is any tear shed without your knowledge. We thank you that you are a God of complete justice.
We thank you that we can have complete confidence in you that everything will be called to account. We thank you, too, that in Jesus we are found righteous; not through anything that we have done. We praise you that we will no longer need to fear your justice because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Thank you that one day we will see you face to face.
We pray that we won’t put our trust in men, not even the most powerful men in the world - not in presidents, nor in governments, but in You alone.
We pray for those soldiers and citizens who are fighting to combat evil in this conflict. Give them wisdom even though they may not even acknowledge your existence. We pray for the governments; for the military personnel; for the civilians living side by side with Belarusians and Ukrainians and Russians. We pray that wisdom would be given them.
We pray, most of all, for Christians around the world. We pray that, as your people, we would seek wisdom in our prayers for our brothers and sisters in this conflict. Please give us wisdom, too, in the way that we encourage each other. May this be for the glory of our God who is sovereign and just.
3. The Ukrainian people
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Saviour.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine in this time of deep distress, confusion and fear. We long that many in this situation would cry out to you. And when they do so, that you would answer them in your graciousness and compassion.
So, we pray, particularly, for Christians in Ukraine. We pray for your people who still remain in Ukraine. We pray for those believers among the refugees. We pray for those believers in Western Europe who have friends and family in Ukraine and Russia.
We pray for Ukrainian Christians who are still able to meet together, that they would have many opportunities to share the hope that is to be found in Jesus. We pray that many men and women would turn to you in their distress at what is happening all around them. We pray that as you continue to build your Church, the impact of this would be recognised by many in Ukraine.
We pray, too, for people in Belarus and Russia, and those countries in Eastern Europe which are already receiving many thousands of refugees. In these places we know that your people have planted churches which are as lights shining in the darkness. We pray for wisdom, courage, and gospel opportunities for them as well.
We particularly lift up our brothers and sisters in Minsk, Belarus. In their sadness at what is happening, we pray that they would seek you and find comfort and consolation in your work.
4. Our Hope for the Future.
He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
We pray for the sure and certain hope of the new creation. We pray for the resurrection of our bodies at the end of all pain and tears, sorrow and conflict. We praise you that when we are in eternity we will look back and recognise the brevity of this period of time. From the standpoint of eternity, these troubles will seem but light and momentary, compared to the eternal joy of being in your presence, and knowing your blessing and joy.
We pray that you would use these current circumstances to bring many, many people into that hope. You are a God of compassion who is working everything according to your purposes, and because of this truth, we can have confidence that you are already doing far greater things for your kingdom’s sake than we can ever imagine.