Why Pray for Ukraine?

A poster committed that prayer seems futile at times like these, and I thought it might be a good topic to explore:
“ I am also unsure of prayer, for instance i saw a comment of someone saying “i will pray for ukraine” due to current events and some replied with “your prayer will do nothing for ukraine”, i hate to admit it but prayer in these kind of situations seems useless and not worth considering.”

What do you think? One of the kids that grew up with mine is General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, and just got back from there. It is a hard place to be a Christian at present, especially a non-Orthodox Christian. It is also a hard time for the Russian people, and bound to get worse for them as well.

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I can understand feeling that way. Sometimes prayer can be accompanied with a clear action, but in this case there’s really nothing I can do. My prayers seem to run in generalities… for peace, wisdom, strength… I guess I’ll never know what effect it does or doesn’t have in a humanly measurable sense, but I still believe it’s important to do.

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We cannot know how God will answer prayers, but we know he can and does answer in the affirmative sometimes, even little ones (you may recall some objective evidence). Certainly we are to be in prayer for his people especially – I too know of missionaries to the Ukraine.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
 
Ephesians 6:18

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Maybe ‘later’? ; - )

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I personally dont think God chooses sides, especially in human conflicts though he may help those who worship him but i am not 100% sure.

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One thing it does do is help with our anxieties to take time to be still and trust God with it. Perhaps for those who are hurting to know that they are not forgotten and others care is helpful too.
I also think God has ;his hand in the affairs of nations, but do not pretend to know how that plays out.

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Heureux ceux qui on faim et soif de la justice, car ils seront consoles.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6)

From “The Horse and His Boy”:

“But how can he? Does the Tisroc think our brother the High King would suffer such an outrage?”

“Sire,” said Peridan to the King. “They would not be so mad. Do they think there are no swords and spears in Narnia?”

“Alas,” said Edmund. "My guess is that the Tisroc has very small fear of Narnia. We are a little land. And little lands on the borders of a great empire were always hateful to the lords of the great empire. He longs to blot them out, gobble them up.

“These little barbarian countries that call themselves free (which is as much as to say, idle, disordered, and unprofitable) are hateful to the gods and to all persons of discernment”

“Your royal Highness needs not to be told,” said King Lune, that by the law of nations a well as by all reasons of prudent policy, we have as good right to your head as ever one mortal man had against another. Nevertheless, in consideration of your youth and the ill nurture, devoid of all gentilesse and courtesy, which you have doubtless had in the land of slave and tyrants, we are disposed to set you free, unharmed, on these conditions: first, that–"

What is a Christian response to a bully? I appreciate your posting this! I was thinking of making one up, too. I was thinking of titling it “Rabadash and the Narnians.” :slight_smile, after “The Horse and His Boy,” in which Prince Rabadash of Calormen attacked Archenland without provocation.

I remember my dad saying, “If someone hurts you without provocation, pray for them. It means they are hurting so bad that they want you to hurt, and take their minds off their own pain.” Yet, Martin Luther King also said it is a grace to the bully, not to let them sin against you, as I recall.

We do indeed need prayer for wisdom.

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I’m sure he can take a side, as when Hitler invaded Austria, France, Poland, etc.

Perhaps, but i dont see why an all powerful deity would bother intervening in petty human conflicts, especially when so many lives that were lost could have been saved but weren’t, maybe God was merely observing the chaos unfold, maybe he intervened only when he deemed necessary, we may never know only speculate.

These are hard times. And there are always hard times.
For those of us, who are Christians, the answer to whether we should pray for Ukraine (or most anything else) is, “yes!”
Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Jesus demonstrated prayer. Jesus prayed with, for and near his disciples.

Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39). Could there be a harder, more painful prayer that seems to have been ignored? Was it ignored? I don’t think so.

How can we pray for Ukraine? We can pray for safety and escape. We can pray for places to go, if they leave. We can pray for strength to fight the invader. We can pray for real peace, as real as it gets in this world. We can pray that diplomatic methods do somehow work.

I’m sure you can think of more and better ways to pray.

Can we know God answers them? How do you quantify the Father’s answer to the Son’s prayer, “Let this cup pass from me”? We just can’t know, short of a genuine, otherwise-impossible miracle, if or how God answered. Like Dale said, “maybe later.” But we have plenty of biblical admonisions to pray.

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This is very much like an earlier topic…

We need to be as toddlers, not pretending to know what the answer should be.

I’m also reminded of this, that even when in severe circumstances, Christians should not despair. Note the couplet:


      Joy & Strength

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He takes, chooses the side of the oppressed, of the innocent, the abused, the vulnerable, the sick, the powerless, the people. He stands with them. Suffers them suffering, helplessly, yearningly. Obviously. He invited us to do the same in Christ. It’s entirely up to, down to, us to open our arms and wallets and voices for the people of Ukraine.

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We know that He never does as in all evolution. Apart from, at most, as one particular victim.

If you were an all powerful deity, why wouldn’t you actually protect the powerless?

Putin wants to have a sphere of interest around Russia, a buffer of countries that will do what Russia wants. Part of the demand is that Nato should not take more members close to Russia. Our country is a neighbor of Russia and not a member of Nato although it is a member of EU and a close ally of Nato. It is natural that people here have reacted strongly to the attack to Ukraine. I have received several messages from different individuals, groups and organisations with the same message: pray for the people of Ukraine.

I believe that God listens to the prayers, especially when a large group of His children are praying in unison. He does not favor people from Ukraine or Russia, both are as valuable. The war causes suffering on both sides. As Russia has attacked and is fighting in Ukraine, people of Ukraine are those suffering more. That is the reason why the prayers are on behalf of the people of Ukraine.

What is going to happen and when, that is still hidden. I know that our God listens and I expect that the prayers will have an effect on what will happen. It is interesting to see what happens. Until we see, prayer continues.

I have tried to remind people that our struggle is not against humans, it is against the forces that operate behind the humans (Ephesians 6:12).

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I always look at it like this.

I’m not sure what God does or does not do with things like war. I’m not sure what my prayer can do and I’m not sure what all of our prayers can do. I have no idea , and neither does anyone else , how the supernatural works. But I have faith that out God does care and I have faith that he is at work in comforting his people.

When I think of prayer I think of James 2.

If we were to see someone freezing and starving what good is it to just pray that , “I hope you are well fed and warm”. It’s rather useless. It seems to me just like with everything concerning humans God wants us to participate in it. The churches I attend for example are already in connection with some of the Churches of Christ in Ukraine. I know many from there. In the house I lived in before this one it also had spare bedrooms and when disciples from other nations was visiting USA , the beaches are a common place to visit , many of them stayed at my house for free for the week or so they were here and it was fun. Likewise when I head to another place , even in America, I reach out to other Christians within my denomination and will stay with them.

Now days with multiple online ways of sharing money quickly it’s fairly easy to send aid to most places. We can still reach out to others , even strangers and try to encourage them or direct them towards somewhere to get aid. Just like in America often small congregations have cook outs with tons of free food , or the disciples there will be meeting up to do this or that and we can send people there way. Even when I’m headed out on a 4-6 hour road trip to go hiking or camping a few weeks in advance I’ll look of CoCs along the route , find them on FB or IG and mention of any disciples there want to go to do and so and hike I’ll be going through there early Saturday morning and can pick them up and bring them. I’ve had random men and women hit me back up from the church and say actually I would like too and a handful of us head out. There is limited risk because we can instantly see which congregations we attend, see numerous people we know and ect…

So when it comes to prayer I think we must also be involved. Our actions have to line up with our faith. When a entire community is praying for someone whose having a extra difficult time it also allows everyone there to chip in various ways. I won’t have $6k to toss someone to get a used car but me and a few hundred others may have around $20-50 bucks to toss in or maybe someone has an old car with a engine problem that they don’t need and someone else happens to have a few motors that work with it and we can get a car up and running or there could be mechanics that can work on the car and so on. It does not mean that prayer is answered only by us either. I think that God is still involved but that it also means we must be involved as well.

We can also help by bringing attention to problems. I’ve noticed within many of my more conservative circles of friends Putin is almost romanticized. He’s looked at as this “ man’s man “ and a warrior leader and ect…. People constantly highlights how caring he was towards that puppy he was given as a gift and how the Asian dude was holding it by his neck and he picked it up and held it way more lovingly and ect…. And it’s not just conservatives in America. I’ve seen similar content from Japan and all over. He’s often glorified. So for those people I know who has done that I often ask them about other things in life life that was actually kind of bad. That this warrior leader thing being romanticized actually seems a lot like using torture to solve issues. If we can pressure those who romanticize him without cause to be more realistic perhaps their general context will move certain channels away from a glorified image of him.

But no I don’t think God is pro Russia or pro Ukraine. I don’t even think he was pro Germany or pro America in WW2. I know Russians who are Christians and who are in the military. It’s easy when in the military to fall into this “everyone is just ants through my scope or screen” . War , regardless if it’s for the right reasons or wrong reasons, always is tragic and always has innocent death. You can find a handful of tales of soldiers in various wars that shot at or killed someone. Was able to get some kind of ID off of them and down road realized it was simply another struggling person who joined to make money who needed to being in that place and left behind a wife and kid and if they were to have met at a park with their families they could have easily became best friends.

I agree that prayer and action are both needed.
God can answer prayers in many ways. One possible way how God can answer is that He inspires someone influential to act.

My experience of answers to prayers has very often been that someone comes to help, without knowing that I had prayed. For example, when I needed money for a congress trip as a student, I did not get money although I prayed. Instead, one person invited me to come with him and he payed everything during the trip.
In another case, my car was stuck in an agricultural field far from the nearest houses. It rained heavily and I had not seen other people during the day. I prayed that God would send an angel to lift the car and went inside the car to wait and pray. In less than 15 minutes someone knocked the window of the car. It was not an angel, it was a group of four men who happened to drive past and saw my stuck car. We needed the power of all four men & their car to get my stuck car back to hard surface.

God answers to prayers when we have a need but not always in the way how we had imagined that God would answer.

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I just read this, and it’s not a surprise, but it’s scary that if Putin gets away with Ukraine, it will embolden and encourage China to follow suit with Taiwan:

So World War II was a petty human conflict? You need to read about World War II and especially about the holocaust.

I guess he didn’t mind that his chosen people were being slaughtered by the millions in death camps or that Americans liberated the camps.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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