Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5: 9)
War turns up time and time again in biblical times. Nations that went to battle without the favour of God rarely claimed victory. Usually, the favour was given to those who trusted in God and sought to fight for just reasons.
This current situation in Ukraine is not a new one. The name Ukraine translates to “borderland,” or “outskirts” and this nation has been viewed for centuries as just that – a bordering land waiting to be conquered. Ukraine and its people have seen struggles with Russia for a century, and over 13,000 have already died in the small-scale war that has been raging in the southwestern area of Ukraine since 2014. They are a resilient people who live in a volatile area of the world that has seen regular war and upheaval. Yet Jesus walked the earth in a similar part of the world, plagued by oppression and a ruthless empire.
Isaiah 26:3 promises that God will keep give perfect peace to those whose mind is focussed on Jesus, because they trust in God.
As we watch in horror the war between Ukraine and Russia the first and best thing we can do is fall to our knees in prayer:
“Lord, We thank you that in every situation, every dark moment, you are active and working among us. Even when things seem at their bleakest, we trust in your sovereignty and strength. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We embrace the fact that this world and the troubles we face in it have been overcome, and rest in the knowledge that Jesus has the power to move in any and every situation.
Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” We pray this now, that God would work in the hearts of world leaders and diplomats, and incline them toward peace. We pray for those who are making decisions that affect so many, as they work through diplomacy, and prepare for the possibility of a large-scale war.
We ask, God, that you would move their hearts to peace; that an alternative to war could be found and that you would be honoured in it.
In Time of War O Lord God of infinite mercy, we humbly implore You to look down on the nations now engaged in war. Do not count Your people’s sins against them, but grant them true repentance, that the lusts of the human heart may be conquered by Your Spirit of gentleness and righteousness.
The art of war (Rudi, 4/3/2006). Shows the turmoil of war, the death and wounding of innocents. Look carefully for the horse centre and soldiers right margin.
Masters of War – Bob Dylan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2mabTnMHe8
Once Crimson Poppies Bloomed – Andrew Pratt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbLjIsgD7CI
Come with Me for the journey is long – John Bell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOHlrYS1y-Y