In the wake of Russia's assault on Ukraine Feb. 24, United Methodists are praying.
The Rev. Stacey Cole Wilson prayed with the congregation of St. Andrew Ukrainian Church in Silver Spring on Feb. 27.
As United Methodists, we believe war (especially an unprovoked war) is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore, reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy. We oppose unilateral first/preemptive strike actions and strategies on the part of any government. As disciples of Christ, we are called to love our enemies, seek justice, and serve as reconcilers of conflict. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.
It is in this spirit, I join in prayer with you and others around the world for the people of Ukraine.
Let us pray,
Gracious and Merciful God, we honor your presence among us and thank you for the gifts of your spirit strengthening your people even now. Holy God, You’ve created us an interrelated people and together we uplift our prayers for the people, suffering, preservation, safety, independence and well-being of your children of Ukraine.
Specifically, we pray for those who mourn, for the preservation of 40+ Million current occupants, for the more than 368,000 Ukrainians who have fled the country since the beginning of Moscow’s assault, for the safety of those left behind, for talks that will provide just resolution, international sanctions that will make a positive difference and an end to this violence and human suffering.
As individuals and families flee for their lives, seek refuge, fuel, medicine, and other essential forms of aid, meet each individual at the point of need and grant them safety on every side.
Move through the generosity of those gathered and all others offering support and aid to your people in and beyond this international crisis.
Guide humanitarian efforts, grant leaders your wisdom, and give us words that will produce just resolution and new life in accordance with Your Holy will.
As A Ukrainian delegation has agreed to meet with Russian officials for talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border, be in the midst of and influence those conversations.
We uplift every family in need in every place and we are strengthened by the words of the Psalmist as documented in Psalm 46-1-5 that remind us amidst human and natural crises:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
In the Name of our Most Merciful God we pray and ask it all, Amen.
These were some of the prayers were lifted up by United Methodists during the LYNC prayer service: on Feb. 26
Auburn, Alabama: Dear Lord, please prevent further bloodshed and destruction. Cause President Putin to cease aggression. We pray for peace. Change his heart. Only you can.
El Dorado, Kansas: Holy God, I pray for Mr. Putin, that you will strike him with your redeeming grace, that he will reverse his actions. Also for violence across the globe. Lord in your Mercy, Hear our prayers.
Prayers for mercy and grace, that all directly affected - aggressor and victim - may be able to see Christ's light in one another. Prayers for safety for those within Russia who are decrying Mr Putin's actions.
Boulder, Colorado: Praying for all of God's children, all around the world … that each soul recognizes the humanity in the "other" … that God will intervene and save each of us … from greed, lust for power … that God will save us from the "darkness" and lead us into "God's Light of Love and Care."
Maryland: Holy God, we pray for those in Ukraine who are suffering during this terrible war. We pray for peace for all nations in Jesus’ name we pray.
Prayers for the refugees. May they be welcomed by kind and compassionate nations with open arms.
Maryland: Praying for all of those who are living in fear of violence and the horrors of war
Washington, D.C: Peace like a river…strength like a mountain. Amen.
Vienna, VA: Creator, God, Be with the people of Ukraine. Make us instruments of peace.
Penn-Del Conference: God create in all of us clean hearts and renew right spirits within us so that we all work for peace everywhere and prosperity and freedom for all.
Washington, D.C.: Christ have mercy on internally displaced people in Ukraine, the Romani, those who have already experienced abuse. Christ have mercy on our laity and clergy who minister to all of them. Christ have mercy on immigrants locked down in Ukraine from Asia and Africa. Christ have mercy on combatants and non combatants. Christ have mercy on earth that is being damaged now and on the indigenous people who already know scapegoating.
Berwyn Heights, Maryland: Praying for diplomats.
Washington, D.C.: Christ, have mercy on the youth and children who shelter in place and for those who turn to you with prayers deep in their hearts beyond words. Christ, be with caretakers of the elderly, removed, displaced, vulnerable to war. Christ, have mercy on those who are rich and removed from this crisis and who stand still and away that they may be moved to action and solidarity.
Praying for those who have already lost loved ones in this conflict. O Holy Spirit, great Comforter, grant them peace and resurrection hope.
Dear Lord, Three in One, help each person who is suffering and afraid. Please end the conflict now, we pray. Show us what we can do.
Holy One, keep us uncomfortable so that we do not turn off the news and our hearts. Call us to Peace, Justice, and continuing action for all of God’s children.
Prayers and tears, not from weakness but from love. Lord strengthen your peacemakers and make us one.
Let love win.
Lord, send your shalom! Amen.
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Conferences, offered a prayer for the people of Ukraine and Russia at the Love Your Neighbor Coalition prayer service on Feb. 26.
Even on the mountain of the Lord, we are invited to be our authentic selves.
For there is a season for everything under the heavens.
There is a time to weep
God heard the cries in
In the wilderness
At the cross
In killing fields across the globe
And in Kyiv, all of Ukraine and Russia on this day.
and our Savior weeps with us now.
fleeing bombs and bloodshed
seeking shelter and safety
clustering together desperately seeking refuge from cluster munitions
seeking to protect their homes and homeland
defending their right to live in freedom and self-determination
sacrificing themselves for the sake of a war they did not create
which was begun on the altar of ego and vainglory.
sacred spaces smoldering in the carnage
They speak when we have no words.
They cleanse and heal.
They water the dry ground of
our wounded, parched souls.
They release the torrent of emotion that swells within us as
we watch in horror and cannot make it stop
not out of weakness but out of love.
We weep at the loss of peace
We weep at the loss of life
We weep at the loss
the world stands with you
opening homes and hearts,
tables and tabernacles,
minds and mouths in solidarity.
for the greatest atrocities known to humankind
were first malformed and malignant desires
conceived within the human heart.
swords into plowshares,
spears into pruning hooks.
May we study war no more
and walk in your light.
Receive our tears, and the groans
too deep for words as our prayer today.
Receive our weeping and send swiftly the peace and joy that comes with the morning. Amen.