I am writing this less than 24 hours from the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As the bombardment was in process, CNN captured a picture of seven people kneeling in prayer in the square of Kyiv.
The seven people who were kneeling on the cold pavement of Ukraine’s capital city should be joined by the church worldwide.
This is a crucial time for prayer. Please ask God to show you how to pray for this terrible time in world history.
I believe that there are many Russians who do not want war, even though their leaders seem insistent on conflict. The Ukrainians do not welcome a military takeover of their country. Both sides of the battle are praying.
Let’s join them in prayer. As we face inconveniences at the gas pump and the store, let them be a reminder to send a quick prayer to God for mercy on our troubled world.
Paul was an extraordinary man of prayer. We can put his prayer for the Corinthian church into our own words and use it for the church in Russia, Ukraine, and the world.
— 1 Corinthians 1.4-9 – I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,
5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind —
6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you —
7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Comments on Paul’s Prayer
— Verse 4 – The church exists because of God’s grace. The most common definition of grace is “unmerited favor.”
The very best way to understand grace is to meditate on the cross and resurrection of Jesus. The ultimate picture of grace is the cross of Jesus Christ.
The church, the people of God, exist because of his grace.
— Verse 5 – The people of God are wealthy, because of God’s love through Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Our wealth does not consist of high status or material goods. We are wealthy because God has revealed his plans and purposes to us.
— Verse 6 – We are wealthy because we can tell our personal story of God’s love and transformation.
— Verse 7 – When we live in a relationship with the Holy Spirit, he is free to give us spiritual gifts.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are useful for living in the present age, and they will prepare us for the end of this age.
— Verse 8 – God gives strength to his people for the here-and-now, and to the end. His goal is that we will be blameless.
God’s desire for his people is to stand before his judgment-seat innocent and without any blame. He gives us the strength of the Holy Spirit to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
— Verse 9 – God is faithful and at conversion causes us to enter into “fellowship” with Jesus.
The Greek word for “fellowship” refers to a partnership. Not only are we friends with Jesus, but we are his partners.
As partners, we join with others Christians to fulfill God’s redemptive purposes in the world.
Application for Today
Please try using Paul’s prayer for the Corinthians as a template to pray for the church in Ukraine, Russia, and around the world.
Here is a suggestion of how to use the prayer.
(1) Thank God for the church. Thank God for the devoted followers of Jesus in Russia, Ukraine, Europe, and beyond.
These people are before the throne of God, asking for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(2) Ask God to empower the speech of Jesus’ followers in every area to share the knowledge that the Holy Spirit grants them.
The world needs God’s perspective on the myriad of troubles that face the world. Pray for God’s people to reflect his wisdom and direction at this time.
(3) Ask God to strengthen his church, so that God’s people will be without blame in our dealings with one another.
While at war, the people of God in Russia and Ukraine need the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit to represent Christ in a blameless way.
The people of God in Europe and other democratic nations need God’s strength to live blameless lives, as we feel the stress of changing economic conditions that are coming.
(4) Pray for God to show us how we can better partner with his purposes at this time in history. This can be prayed locally and for those abroad.
Rudy Ross and I have a video on Paul’s prayer for the Corinthians. We didn’t address the situation in Ukraine in the video, because we video on Wednesday.
Rudy always has insights that I don’t include in my blog. He is a very valuable resource. I hope you will take the time to listen today.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.