As war rages on in Ukraine, it’s difficult to watch what’s taking place from afar. This is especially difficult given the atrocities being committed against civilians in general, and children in particular.
Many of us are doing all we can, and more, as part of the roles in which we serve. And yet, the heart of everyone whom the Lord created to be a protector likely yearns to be on the battlefield waging war against the aggressors. As we struggle with these yearnings, let’s remember that prayer is an awesome weapon when wielded by God’s people.
Two verses come to mind in this regard. James 5:16 (NIV) reminds us of how powerful prayer can be:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
And when preparing to confront those who opposed him on spiritual matters, Paul reminded us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) that:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
God’s people have been waging spiritual war against the powers of evil for thousands of years. Many can testify to the power and effectiveness of prayer as a weapon. In God’s kingdom, one elderly lady on her knees can be more powerful and effective in warfare than 10,000 of the fiercest warriors who ever walked the earth. To doubt this reality is to limit God.
Only God knows what’s really happening in Ukraine right now and why. He alone knows the degree to which this war will spread, as well as the final outcome. This fact notwithstanding, throughout Scripture God invites his people to pray. One example can be found in 1 Peter 3:12 (ESV):
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
As we pray for the people of Ukraine and what’s happening there, consider calling out to God to:
• Protect the innocent, especially women and children
• Give protection, strength, endurance, and effectiveness to those fighting against evil
• Cause confusion and fear among those fighting for an unjust cause
• Destroy the effectiveness of the weapons, equipment, and resources used for evil
• Open the eyes of leaders and combatants to clearly discern between good and evil
More than anything else, let’s pray that the Lord will allow what’s happening in Ukraine, Russia, and the world to open the eyes of all people to see their need for a relationship with God through Jesus.
As we pray for these and other requests the Lord places on your heart, recall that the Lord encourages us in Colossians 4:2 to be “watchful and thankful” as we pray. Let’s never forget that God is sovereign, that in the end his purposes will prevail, and that we can trust in his goodness no matter how difficult or challenging things on earth become.