Today, we join with the church across the world to fast and pray for Ukraine. I want to encourage you to pray fearlessly and boldly. Fasting also helps us to focus on Jesus, so please fast if you are able.
Today is Ash Wednesday in the traditional church calendar, a day that marks the beginning of the season of Lent, for Christians all over the world. Lent is a period of 40 days of prayer and fasting and is an opportunity for Christians to repent of their sins, as they reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus, in the days leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. Many Christians around the world will attend special Ash Wednesday church services, where they will repent of their sin and the priest will draw a cross on their forehead, drawn with ashes, to symbolise death and repentance.
While at TVCC we don’t observe this tradition (we believe that prayer, repentance and fasting should be led from the heart and not limited to special days), this year, as war breaks out in Ukraine and we feel the ripples around the world, the symbolism of ashes for death and repentance, seems all the more poignant. Yet in the midst of sin and ashes, we must not lose sight of the cross and the resurrection.
Jesus’s death and resurrection ushered in a whole new kingdom, completely different to the unstable geographical territories of men, not subject to sinful egos and power-hungry human agendas. The kingdom of God is immovable, unshakeable, dependable and full of righteousness, light, power and peace. A kingdom where God exchanges ashes for beauty. That’s the Kingdom that we want to increase in Ukraine, Russia and the whole earth and that’s the Kingdom that we belong to, as children of God. So, when we see the kingdoms of the earth shaking, we don’t need to fear, because God is still in control and as citizens of His kingdom, we have authority to release all the resources of heaven through our prayers.
When we pray, angel armies are mobilised.
When we pray, the abundant provision of heaven is poured out.
When we pray, sin is convicted.
When we pray, light penetrates deep darkness.
When we pray, God brings healing, comfort and peace.
Perhaps these prayer strategies will help to get you started, if you don’t know what to pray:
- Many of us have felt led to pray according to 2 Chronicles 20, where King Jehoshaphat sends the worshippers ahead of the army and as they worship, the enemy army becomes confused and they end up attacking each other. Pray for confusion and failure of technology and systems of command in the Russian army.
- Declare the sovereignty of the Kingdom of God over Ukraine and Russia. Declare, as Jesus did in the Lord’s Prayer ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven!’
- Pray according to 2 Kings 6:14-17, that the armies of heaven would come to the aid of the Ukrainian people.
“When a servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, a force surrounded the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What will we do?”
16 And he said, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than with them.”
17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.”
- Pray for effective aid to reach Ukraine and be distributed rapidly.
- Pray for a growing wave of protest in Russia.
- Pray for effective processing of refugees at borders and protection from human trafficking.
- Pray for the church in Ukraine and the friends we have made there over the years. Pray that God would resource them and make them a safe haven and a blessing to others.
- Pray for the loss of life to be low. Pray for the people of Ukraine to be kept safe, especially the children and for miraculous protection and healing. (Exodus 12)
To finish, please play The Blessing, sung by Ukrainians, in Russian. Sing it over our brothers and sisters in Ukraine
01 Mar 2022