There is little we can do in the face of this devastating war except pray … but prayer is powerful.
The image shows a collection of Ukrainian painted Easter eggs, displayed as a prayer resource at a recent diocesan conference for Licensed Lay Ministers. The eggs are the property of the Warden for Lay Ministry, Stephanie Hayton, who has kindly agreed to let us use the photograph. Each egg is beautifully and lovingly painted, with symbols evoking discipleship and resurrection. And they are fragile. Praying silently while holding one of these objects very gently in a hand proved to be a moving experience.
However, very few people will have such a collection to hand. So what else can you do to encourage people in your churches to pray for the situation in Ukraine, or indeed to focus your own prayers?
Agreeing to pray together at set times can be helpful. So can using a picture of a sunflower (the national flower of Ukraine), or the national colours, blue and yellow. And it is always helpful to have a selection of prayers for people to use if they so wish.
There are lots of good prayers available – here are a few suggestions:
The Collect for Peace, from the Church of England
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
From the Joint Public Issues Team – JPIT
God of all,
With alarm and concern we bring before you the military intervention in Ukraine.
In a world you made for peace and flourishing, we lament the use of armed force.
We mourn every casualty in this conflict,
Every precious life extinguished by war.
We pray for comfort for those who grieve and those who are fearful.
Hear our longing that leaders and nations will honour the worth of all people
By having the courage to resolve conflict through dialogue.
May all our human failings be transformed by your wonderful grace and goodness’
We ask this in the name of Christ,
The author of peace and sustainer of creation.
From ‘All We Can’
Prince of peace
Lord of light
God of grace,
As we hear of war and invasion,
We pray to you for peace.
In a world of conflict and violence,
We pray for all who live in fear,
Especially today the people of Ukraine.
We lament with you,
And pray for peace.
Prince of peace
Lord of light
God of grace,
Show me how to pray for peace today.
From CAFOD – the Catholic Relief Agency
Loving God, we pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world.
From the Methodist Church
Holy and Gracious God
We pray for the people of the Ukraine, and the
people of Russia, for their countries and their leaders.
We pray for all who are afraid;
that your everlasting arms hold them in this time of fear.
We pray for all those who have the power over life and death;
that they will choose for all people life, and life in all its fullness.
We pray for those who choose war; that they will
remember that you direct your people to turn
swords into ploughshares and to seek peace.
We pray for leaders on the world stage; that they
will be inspired by the wisdom and courage of Christ.
Above all, Lord, today we pray for peace in Ukraine.
And we ask this in the name of your blessed Son.
Lord have mercy.
Finally, we should not forget to pray for the aggressors
O God who has shown us that Light overcomes darkness and Love overcomes hate, flood the hearts of the men of violence with your Spirit of compassion.
At this time, we pray especially for President Putin and his generals.
May they be turned from their former ways as Saul was turned on the road to Damascus.
May they learn that gentleness, mercy and truth are the way of life. And may they long to make peace not war.
O God we pray that the signs of your Kingdom may be seen throughout this Earth, and the Earth become more like Heaven.