A Story with Prayers for Ukraine
During these uncertain days around the world, it is certain that one thing we can do is pray.
The Holy Spirit helps us pray with sighs and groans within us when we cannot even find words to say:
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26).”
Here are some resources that can guide our prayers and songs for Ukraine:
Below is an excerpt from one of these prayers (by Resonate missionary in Ukraine, Rev. George de Vuyst):
“Heavenly Father, we come to you with heavy hearts as we see war in Ukraine. We pray that you would be merciful on the people of Ukraine and Russia and end this war. Grant wisdom to world leaders to effectively stop evil. Allow for the truth to be known, for lies to be shown for what they are, and for evil-doers to be thwarted.
Lord, we pray for those who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods. Comfort and provide for the needs of those who have been displaced and seek refuge. Lord, we ask for mercy and we seek justice. We pray that you would be at work in both…”
Pictured above, thousands of Hungarians and others gathered in a symbolic gesture of peace on Wednesday evening, March 9 in historic Heroes Square.
Though we see evil at work in the current crisis, we also see God working in amazing acts of human love and care. So many have opened their hearts and homes to refugees. Here I share photos and excerpts from a recent newsletter by Resonate missionary couple Julie and Jeff Bouman, serving in Budapest, Hungary (used with permission).
Julie writes a letter to two young Ukranian-Nigerian sisters. Julie met the girls after a student from the church where she volunteers went to the western rail station to see what was happening.
He met refugees arriving in Budapest in the middle of the night with nowhere to go. He called the pastor, and they invited the newcomers to sleep at the church. Over the next days, a team of people helped provide “shelter, food, wi-fi, advice, and supplies for the onward journey.”
Here is Julie’s letter to the two young girls:
Dear Esther and Emmanuela,
You will probably never read this letter. Even if you do someday, I can’t imagine that you will remember me. We only spent part of one day together, and it was during a time of huge upheaval in your life. You were, for the moment, at St. Columba’s Scottish Mission in Budapest, after your family fled from Kharkiv, Ukraine because of the Russian military invasion.
I had come to the church to help receive guests arriving from Ukraine. I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing there. Even though I wanted to help, I am still somewhat of a newcomer in Hungary myself, and I still have many questions about how to do things and get things done. But when you arrived at the church, Emmanuela, it wasn’t long before you took my hand and let me know that you wanted a tour of the building. And it wasn’t long before I realized that I knew what 5-year-olds like to do, and 7-year-olds, too, Esther. And so, while your parents took care of other things, we colored and imagined, played Find the Doggie, made a swimming pool out of a plastic lid and some sequins (those sequins could be so many things!), and as many things as we could think up to do.
I eventually left the church before you did, and when I came back that evening, your family had already moved on to a place more suitable for all of you. I know this time must be so hard for all of you. Your journey to Budapest must have been long and probably scary some of the time. I don’t know how much longer your journey will last or where it will end. Maybe you will go to Nigeria, where your parents came from; maybe you will go somewhere else. But wherever you go, I hope there will always be people who see what I saw when I looked at you: two young, smart, strong humans holding a very fragile item in your hands. If they look closely, they will see that what you are holding is labeled “The Future”. And I hope they will treat you with all the respect and gentleness that our future requires.
With love and prayers for peace,
Esther and Emmanuela are signs of hope. May we keep praying for them and the countless others suffering in this crisis. We also pray for those who serve with love, and for all those who lead, for strength, wisdom and divine protection.
This is all helpful and lovely, Barb. Thanks for sharing.