Yesterday I sat with a Ukrainian woman whose parents, sister, grandad, and many friends live in Kyiv. She, of course, is beside herself with worry about them. She showed me videos from home and we both watched in horror and disbelief at what was happening. Both she and all of us feel helpless in the face of this situation and yet long to do something to make a difference.
Justin and I decided to light a candle and to hold a live streamed Pause for Prayer so that we could join with some of you, and others online, in lifting the situation before God. Today I bumped into someone in our church building. She isn’t a Christian and told how she’s not normally someone who prays. However, last night when she was watching the horrors unfold in Ukraine, she felt a compulsion to pray and happened across our service online. She was glad of the opportunity to pause and to pray.
We read some words from Psalm 59. I imagine many in Ukraine are sharing the feelings of the Psalmist…
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from those who work evil;
from the bloodthirsty save me.
Even now they lie in wait for my life;
the mighty stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O LORD,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
The Psalms, full of emotion and passion, give expression to so many of the situations faced in this world, including the current horror going on in Ukraine. The writer of Psalm 59 concludes…
But I will sing of your might;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been a fortress for me
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
At Pause for Prayer, Justin sang a hymn which was written by the Revd Ally Barrett in 2018, to mark the centenary of Armistice Day and the end of the First World War. It is sung to the same tune as ‘My Song is Love Unknown’. The words speak into the situation we currently face, here are some of them. Why not hum or speak them as a prayer today.
Hope for the world’s despair:
we feel the nations’ pain;
can anything repair
this broken earth again?
For this we pray:
in every place
a spark of grace
to light the way.
Wisdom for all who bear
the future in their hand,
entrusted with the care
of this and every land.
When comes the hour,
O Lord, we pray,
inspire the way
we spend our power.
Ease for the troubled mind
in endless conflict caught,
each soul that cannot find
the peace beyond all thought.
May they be blessed
with healing balm
for inner calm
and perfect rest.
Love for the human heart:
when hate grows from our fears
and inwardly we start
to turn our ploughs to spears.
Help us to sow
love’s precious seed
in word and deed,
that peace may grow.