Evangelicals Unite in Prayer
Amid continuing communication restrictions in Russia, over 300 Evangelical Russian Pastors and leaders wrote an impassioned open letter asserting that no political interest is worth the lives of innocent women and children. Quoting words from the Holy Scripture to “keep our hands off evil and seek peace” and Christ’s words “put your sword in its sheath, for he who takes the sword by the sword shall also perish.”[i]
Evangelical groups in Ukraine rallied for peace in February just before the war broke out. Ukrainian foreign affairs director of the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church Yuriy Kulakevych preached on peace. Reminding the congregation of God’s Peace Pentecostal Church in the capital, Kyiv, he said “We are not only to enjoy peace ourselves, but to share it.”[ii] The All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches consist of over 2,000 churches and more than 300 missionary groups. Many of these mobilizing for refugees by stocking supplies and medical equipment and preparing basement spaces.[iii]
By March 1, Russian Church Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostal were calling for prayer and fasting until March 31, 2022. Their prayer content is simple:
• Those whom peace depends on may see these ways and bring peace to the nation, remembering that the hearts of kings and rulers are in His hand (Prov. 21:1).
• That churches will sacrificially serve the afflicted.
• Create a deeper understanding of the purpose of the Church of Christ,“to be light and salt”[iv]
European Churches are calling for prayer. An open invitation to an online prayer service for Ukraine was issued by the church of Scotland. Rev. Balazs Odor of the Reformed Church in Hungary urged Christians to come together in prayer “It is crucially important to demonstrate to society that Christians from different ethnic backgrounds…express their wish for peaceful solutions.”[v]
American evangelicals have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to stand with our fellow believers across the world. We often have more resources both financially and in numbers of believers. Call to prayer is the first and not to be counted as “the least”we can do. SEND International, an interdenominational, multinational Christian mission organization has outlined praying points for us.[vi] These include bringing people to God and the discovery of the true source of peace is in Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only son” (John 3:16). Pray for open corridors for evacuation and humanitarian aid such as food, shelter, and heat. Psalm 72:12 reminds us to serve the needy, “for he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” For those who remain in bomb shelters, pray they may find safety. Prayers for the churches and Pastors and for believers that have been asked to fight. Included in the prayer list is asking God to confuse the enemy. The words of Psalm 55:9-11 portray this so aptly, “confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about…destructive forces are at work…”.
Christians imagine “day and night they prowl.”Do not be left sleeping. Evil is in the world and prayer is our weapon against it.
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[i] https://evangelicalfocus.com/europe/15705/300-evangelicals-in-russia-sign-letter-denouncing-war-as-authorities-plan-further-restrictions-of-freedom-of-speech [ii] https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/february/ukraine-russia-churches-donetsk-luhansk-putin-independence.html [iii] https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2022/february/ukraine-russia-churches-donetsk-luhansk-putin-independence.html [iv] https://worldea.org/news/17609/russian-pentecostals-call-for-prayer-and-fasting-against-the-war/ [v] https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2022/articles/european-churches-invite-us-to-a-service-for-peace-in-ukraine [vi] https://www.biblestudytools.com/gnt/psalms/passage/?q=psalm+55:9-15