Thursday, March 06, 2014

Pray for Ukraine

This year my word has been kingdom.  My prayer has been Lord, your kingdom come, your will be done.  As I have been praying this short prayer my eyes and my heart have been more attuned to the difficult situations in our world.  Most recently my heart has been burdened for the nation of Ukraine.  After years of living under a corrupt government, the people rose up and demanded the government officials abide by the nation’s constitution.  This resulted in the former president, Viktor Yanukovych, being ousted and leaving the country.  As the country was beginning to move forward under new leadership, Russia invaded the region of Crimea.  And now the world waits to see what President Putin will do next.

I understand this is a very simple summary of all the events unfolding in Ukraine, but my intent is not to educate us about the intricacies of this international problem or give solutions.  Rather I hope that we can turn our attention, even if briefly, from the Oscars and March Madness to what God may ask us to do regarding this conflict. 

So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. Teach them to pray for kings (or anyone in high places for that matter) so that we can lead quiet, peaceful lives—reverent, godly, and holy— all of which is good and acceptable before the eyes of God our Savior who desires for everyone to be saved and know the truth.  1 Timothy 2:1-4 (The Voice)

What we are told in 1 Timothy 2 is to pray for ALL HUMANITY.  That is we pray for many people, whether we view them as enemy or ally.  Paul, the author of 1 Timothy, gives specific instructions to pray for kings and others in authority.  May I suggest that we not only apply this verse to the nation we live in, but also to other nations.  Maybe Ukraine? Maybe Russia?  Maybe Syria?  Maybe Afghanistan?

Praying for authorities and government officials seems to be a necessary component to leading a quiet, peaceful life.  While the events unfolding in Ukraine maybe not be upsetting our “peaceful” life on the home front at the moment, let’s not be naïve.  We live in a global society where the circumstances in one nation affect many other nations.  Our peaceful lives can be impacted by international events, not just domestic ones.

How do I even begin to know how to pray for conflicts I barely understand?  How do I begin to pray for authorities when this is a practice I have neglected?  This may be a simple response to my own questions, but I keep going back to the words of Jesus, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

May I encourage you to join me and pray this short prayer whenever you hear or read a news report about Russia and Ukraine?  Pray for both countries, their people, and their leaders.  May the Lord’s kingdom come and may his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Psst…here is something you may not know, but the interim president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, is a Baptist pastor.  Check out this article from Christianity Today.

My friend, Kristy, who currently lives in Ukraine with her family, shares about the many great things God is doing in this country.  You should check it out here.

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