In a recent phone conversation with Ivan Rusyn, the president of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS), I was encouraged to hear an update about the ministry and our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Christ. During the call, Rusyn shared the amazing response that those suffering from the war in Kyiv have had to the food and medical assistance the UETS team. This team has been faithfully delivering aid throughout the city, and it’s making an impact. Rusyn said that many of these people ask how much they should pay for the services. When the team tells them that it is all free, they respond, “You must be Christians!”
Praying for the Ukrainian Church
This is why Ivan feels strongly that the Ukrainian church will emerge from the war much stronger and with an elevated position in Ukrainian society. By freely giving as they have been given, the UETS team is demonstrating the extravagant grace of our Savior, a grace that many in Ukraine have never tasted. And once they have a taste, they want more.
Praying for Ukraine. How?
So how, then, should we pray for Ukraine? After I shared these thoughts on the conflict in Ukraine and the conversation I had with Rusyn at a College Park Church elder meeting recently, one of the elders was deeply moved. He told me how Ivan’s faith and spiritual insight had caused him to think and pray entirely differently about the war. Before hearing about UETS’ impact amid the struggle, his prayers were just, “God, stop the war!” Now, they were, “God, build your Kingdom among Ukrainians. Use the suffering for your name’s sake. And, yes, please stop the war!”
Here’s how you can pray for Ukraine:
- For God’s Kingdom to come in Ukraine, as many taste and see for maybe the first time the goodness of the Lord in the midst of unspeakable suffering and tragedy
- That God would protect, strengthen, and enable his church all over Ukraine to be the hands and feet of Jesus, caring for the needy
- That God would defeat Putin and the Russian army, that war would be over, and that there would be lasting peace
As we think about our Christian brothers and sisters at UETS and as we hear of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, let us be diligent in praying for Ukraine. By God’s grace, Ivan’s words may very well ring true: the Ukrainian church will emerge from the war much stronger and with an elevated position in Ukrainian society—to the glory of God.