Like many, I have struggled at times to know how to pray beyond the cry for peace in the current war in Ukraine and subsequent humanitarian need. I am aware that just as James and John asked Jesus if they should ‘call fire down from heaven’ that in my humanness I too have to fight the desire to pray ‘evil for evil’.
During my Lenten devotions this morning, I read these words from church leaders and workers who remain in Ukraine: I know our battle is not against flesh and blood. I feel angry, but I don’t hate. I pray that through this, the Lord will draw Ukrainians, Russians, even Putin and the world beyond to Himself, show them that there is a place for them with Him. And from another who had a dream: I saw Ukraine as a bright and shining place that was ultimately lifted up as a light giving glory to God and drawing others to Him.
Their prayers reminded me of Ps 149: For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Surely God takes great pleasure in these people, in their humble, honest submission to Him, even in their fear, confusion and human weakness. My prayer today is that these workers and leaders are both beautified and empowered to expect that God will ultimately be glorified through these painful and violent circumstances.
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