Scroll down for prayers for Ukraine. Also some prayers here (prayers for peace) may be helpful.

(see BBC report here and a simple visual guide to the situation in Ukraine here)
In August 1991, Ukraine followed the Baltic states and declared its independence from the Soviet Union, which a month later dissolved. In 2014 Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, an act Western powers condemned as a breach of international law. Then, late last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin began positioning troops near its border with Ukraine. On Feb. 21, Putin declared in a speech that he would recognize two eastern Ukrainian provinces as independent states and send in Russian troops as “peacekeepers.” Reports say troops are now advancing from the north in the direction of Kyiv; from the east through Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv; and from Crimea in the south. In less than 24 hours, dozens of targets have been struck, as Russian troops have poured into Ukraine.
This follows weeks when Russian military strength has been building on the border with Ukraine, with some 100,000 Russian troops positioned on three sides of Ukraine in the past few weeks. The U.S., the EU, and NATO are ready to help Ukraine fight Russia.
We pray for a political, nonviolent solution to the crisis, and support every sincere effort to establish lasting justice and peace, and call on all for solidarity with the people in the war zones of Ukraine.
It may be surprising to learn that after so many years of Communist rule, the statistics show that 79% of the population are Christian. Ukraine and its neighbouring lands are in a region of rich Christian traditions. 
Geographically, the Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, after Russia, with 40 million inhabitants.Ukraine, an Eastern European country, has a population of 44 million people, and borders Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, and Russia. The Russo-Ukrainian War began in February 2014, focused on the east of Ukraine. The conflict has claimed more than 14,000 lives and driven 1.3 million people from their homes. The warring parties agreed to a cease-fire in July 2020. But Russia has sent an estimated 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Jan. 19 that he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to order an invasion. The current situation represents a great danger for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the entire European continent, which may destroy the progress made so far by many generations in building a peaceful order and unity in Europe.
At the beginning of the Catholic Church’s day of prayer for peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis made an earnest appeal to those in power: “Please, no more war. I invite you to pray for peace in Ukraine and to do so often throughout this day. Let us ask the Lord insistently that this land may see fraternity flourish and overcome wounds, fears, and divisions. More than five million were annihilated during World War II. They are a suffering people; they have suffered hunger, they have suffered so much cruelty and they deserve peace. May the prayers and invocations that are being raised today touch the minds and hearts of those in positions of authority on earth, so that dialogue may prevail and the good of all be put before the interests of one side. May every political action and initiative serve human brotherhood (sic), rather than partisan interests. Those who pursue their own interests, to the detriment of others, disregard their human vocation, as we were all created as brothers and sisters. Please, no more war. May dialogue be the only means to overcome this crisis’.

In their joint message, the bishops of Ukraine and Poland called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. “Today, the quest for alternatives to war in resolving international conflicts has become an urgent necessity, since the terrifying power of the means of destruction are now in the hands of even medium and small powers, and the increasingly strong ties existing between the peoples of the whole earth make it difficult, if not practically impossible, to limit the effects of any conflict. Therefore, drawing on the experience of previous generations, we call upon those in power to refrain from hostilities. We encourage leaders to immediately withdraw from the path of ultimatums and the use of other countries as bargaining chips. Differences in interests must be resolved not by the use of arms, but through agreements. The international community should unite in solidarity and actively support endangered society in all possible ways.”

The World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Ioan Sauca, on behalf of WCC member churches throughout the world, joined the voices of those who are “urgently” appealing for peace in Ukraine.
“As we follow the news of the mad progression towards war, we plead for a different logic than one based on geopolitical competition – a logic that considers the death and suffering that any armed conflict would inevitably visit on the children, women and men of Ukraine. We pray for a change of hearts and minds, for de-escalation, and for dialogue instead of threats. God’s people – and members of the ecumenical fellowship – find themselves on both sides of the current confrontation. But our God is a God of peace, not of war and bloodshed. Though the things that make for peace may be hidden from the eyes of those driving the march to war, we pray that they may yet be opened, and that peace may yet prevail.”

The five Greek Catholic Ukrainian bishops of the United States prepared a statement. “Today, the world watches and wonders: Are religious liberty, a free press, a robust public debate, and accountable government in a sovereign state to be punished through the escalation of an invasion that began in 2014? Is the Ukrainian people’s exercise of their God-given dignity a threat to a modern Herod’s thirst for power and hegemony?”
They denounce that “nostalgia for an empire lost” has led to “senseless slaughter and immense suffering throughout Ukraine.”
“God-given human dignity and freedom threaten rulers who seek to dominate others, build empires, enslave, and colonize,” they wrote. “Those with the audacity to resist, who dare to move from the fear of totalitarianism to freedom and dignity are mercilessly punished.”
They close their statement urging the faithful to “pray, be informed and help the victims of the senseless invasion.”

Thank God for the rich Christian heritage of Ukraine. Christianity in the Slavic world began in Kyiv 1,000 years ago. Churches suffered greatly until independence (1991) and millions of Christians died, but the faithful perseverance of the Church now bears fruit. Today it impacts most of society. Evangelicals emerged from 130 years of persecution with larger numbers and stronger faith. Ukraine has a spiritual drive and vision present today that is different from generations before.

But the country has no shortage of needs. Communism fell 30 years ago, but the new market economy drove many into poverty while a few gained extreme wealth through corrupt means. These powerful oligarchs make money from Ukraine, but usually invest their riches outside the country. Ukraine’s economic troubles increase the political tensions between East and West. When Communism ended, the empty space without values or morals led to a rapid increase of hopelessness, alcoholism, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Prayers for Ukraine under invasion

Freedom is not a choice, by Kathryn Dickel

With war in Ukraine, the global religious landscape is destined to shift by John Allen Jr

“I No Longer Pray For Peace”
On the edge of war, one foot already in,
I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.
I pray that stone hearts will turn
to tenderheartedness,
and evil intentions will turn
to mercifulness,
and all the soldiers already deployed
will be snatched out of harm’s way,
and the whole world will be
astounded onto its knees.
I pray that all the “God talk”
will take bones,
and stand up and shed
its cloak of faithlessness,
and walk again in its powerful truth.
I pray that the whole world might
sit down together and share
its bread and its wine.
Some say there is no hope,
but then I’ve always applauded the holy fools
who never seem to give up on
the scandalousness of our faith:
that we are loved by God……
that we can truly love one another.
I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.
(A poem by Ann Weems)

God our Help,
We pray for the Ukrainian people under siege.
We remember those who are shivering in fear,
children being scarred in body and spirit for the lifetime to come.
We remember those who are taking up arms,
the neophytes on Molotov assembly lines full of courage.
We remember the separatists of the east,
minorities of discontent who also long for freedom and peace.
God of Shalom,
help us to not over-simplify our prayers for peace in the world.
Give us breadth of perspective and a spirit of empathy.
We pray for the people of Russia and now of Belarus.
We pray for the awakening of the people of countries
that fuel, instigate, and profit from proxy wars.
God of All,
Speed your aid to those in need.
May the refugee find sanctuary.
May the aggrieved find restorative justice.
May the peoples of the world
embrace their right to self-determination,
in ways that affirm the rights and freedom of others.
Help us, God of Love,
to hold the complexity of this world
and act with wisdom.
Embolden us to speak for peace,
to act for justice, and to amplify the truth,
so that the wars may cease
and the peoples of the world
may know freedom and fullness of life.
We dare to dream that your Shalom can take root
and flourish among the peoples of the world.
We dare to work for peace.
Help us, we pray.
(Source: Fr. Rolly de Leon and Rev. Ma. Grace Masegman, Co-chairpersons, Promotion of Church People’s Response, PHILIPPINES)

We shine a light for Kyiv,and the cities of Kharkiv and Kherson
We shine a light for Chernihiv
and for Chernobyl
We shine a light for the woman from Kyiv packing her car
with her 11 year old son
and then driving nonstop
to her parents house in the deep countryside of Ukraine,
Her 11 year old who can’t stop shaking.
They arrive and eat borsch under the mulberry tree
and her father won’t let go of her sons hand.
We shine a light for the the man who didn’t get into the railway tunnel in time and who face is now shattered with glass.
We shine a light for the refugees fleeing to Poland.
We shine a light for 50-year-old Alexander, who was manning a makeshift barricade at the entrance to one village with a group of other locals, brandishing whatever weapons they had.
He said:
“Of course, if it’s a tank, in this terrain there’s nothing we can do and we need to run. But if it’s anything less than a tank,
we will fight,”
Jesus of the Transfiguration.
Jesus of the Sorrows.
You knew what is was to feel beauty,
face fear
and then walk back into the fire.
Help us to hold fast to that which is good
And to believe in the ancient truth
that the light shines in the darkness
and that the darkness cannot
the light.
(Source: Rev Alex Sangster, Transforming Worship, Uniting Church in Australia)

We must keep turning toward the light. The shadowy world around us can easily beguile us to look away. To take our eyes off what is valuable. To stare into the abyss. But the smoke and mirrors world of power politics is always just an illusion. So much of it is posturing for the crowd. The core value is that we maintain our diversity, our democracy, and our decency. They are the essence of the light to which we are by faith committed. They are our birthright and our future. From their common ground a community can grow and a legacy become established. We must keep turning toward the light. Darkness never wins, unless we look away. (Source: Bishop Steven Charleston, Facebook post)

“Risen Christ, waiting in silence before you, we allow this ardent prayer to arise: May the fire of weapons be extinguished in the land of Ukraine. Welcome in your love those who are dying because of violence and war; console their families in their sorrow; support those who have had to go into exile. In the face of incomprehensible suffering, we believe nevertheless that your words of love and of peace will never pass away. You gave your life on the cross and you have opened a future for us, even beyond death. And so we implore you: Give us peace. It is you who are our hope.”
(Prayer by Br. Alois, Taize)

Loving Creator, you put love in our hearts
you are with us in the depths of darkest night
you are with us in the first light of the morning
and with us as we prepare to cross over.
Our world is shocked by war’s outbreak
we live in fear for our families and strangers
we wonder why such cruel conflicts occur
and fall to our knees praying for your help.
You were not afraid to face the roaring crowd
nor the cruel, divisive leaders who sought you
you knew the joy of that palm strewn parade
would led you to the hard wood of the cross.
Help us Lord to trust you completely today
let us be humble and willing to seek you
give us your fearlessness to face the future
and may all we do be for your love’s sake. Amen.
(Source: Carol J Gallagher, Facebook post)

God of peace,
whose son Jesus Christ taught us
to love our neighbour as ourselves,
give your strength to the people of Ukraine,
give your wisdom to the leaders of the world,
give your love to all of us who pray for peace –
peace that will transform,
peace that will heal,
peace that will last,
for the sake of the same Jesus Christ,
the Prince of Peace. Amen.
(Source: Durham Cathedral)

God of peace, God of mercy
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
We lament the violence that has come to their country
We ask for comfort for those who mourn,
hope for those who despair and compassion for all who suffer.
We plead for an end to violence and aggression in their land

We pray for the people of Russia,
We give thanks for those who protest for peace and pray for ongoing courage
We ask for a change of heart in those who commit acts of aggression and war against their fellow citizens and neighbours
We pray for Russians who will suffer because of sanctions and war

We pray for leaders around the world
We pray that world leaders might work for an end to war and for establishing of peace
We seek wisdom for those who are making life and death decisions about how to respond to violence and threats of violence
We ask for courage for those who campaign for peace.

We pray for aid workers and journalists
We give thanks for the willingness of aid workers to work in situations of war and unrest in order to meet the needs of others
We ask for safety, wisdom and compassion for all working to alleviate suffering and heal the wounded
We pray for journalist and media organisations reporting the situation in Ukraine and Russia, may they report truthfully and compassionately.

We pray for peace
We lament violence around the world
We plead for the ceasing of violence and the establishment of peace
We pray that you might give us a desire for peace and a willingness to work and hope and pray for peace each day. Amen
(Rev Sharon Hollis, President, Uniting Church in Australia)

Pray for Ukraine
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
I pray in search for peace in Ukraine
give peace a chance in the time of war
in the world’s history.
O Lord,
enlighten the rulers
they may defend the gift of peace;
We denounce deadly armed force,
call on all leaders back to dialogue;
to respect the international law
to protect lives within the bound of peace.
The LORD is close to the broken-hearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ (Psalm 34:18)
Give the injured your healing spirit,
Give the dead a rest in peace,
Give the displace a community of peace
Give the world a moment of peace
This is the peace
that the world cannot give,
but only comes from your son Jesus Christ.
O Spirit,
move the hearts of millions into prayer
for peace blossom forth.
Reign over the peoples and the region
with your boundaries of peace,
Let the Spirit of life
connect the people in their fear
and unify their hopes into
a potency of building peace.
O Christ,
we pray for the Ukrainian communities in Australia.
for brothers and sisters in the Orthodox tradition,
and for ourselves.
We pray for
those have been exposed to
the trauma of being caught in the crossfire,
the fear overwhelmed by a deliberate force.
We pray for
an immediate end to the armed hostilities
a protection for all lives threatened by the conflict.
Come, O God of peace,
Move the world out of darkness,
Bring all people into the light.
Send love to each broken-hearted,
Make your Church an instrument of world’s peace.
For peace in Ukraine.
We pray
in the name of Christ. Amen.
(Source, Rev Dr Ji Zhang 张骥, Uniting Church in Australia)

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
(The Universal Prayer for Peace)

God of plowshares, pruning hooks,
and peace-making,
translate such old archaic words
into hope today in Ukraine
that your promise to shatter
bows and swords, spears and shields,
may mean now
an end of missile strikes
and long-range artillery,
the silencing of Kyiv’s air-raid sirens.
We pray for those who flee the capital
and those who shelter in place
and in fear in Kharkiv to the east.
We pray for troops already exhausted
from their long watching.
We pray for NATO land and air forces,
knowing that means people,
and we pray for Germany and Poland
as they open borders to fleeing refugees.
God, we have studied war for so long,
let it be no more, no more.
Teach us a new peacemaking,
guiding the leaders of nations,
and holding gently in your heart
the many who live and die
because of their decisions,
for we pray in the name of Jesus
who wept for our great needing
of the things that make for peace. Amen
(Source: Maren Tirabassi, Gifts in Open Hands)

A Psalm 27 prayer for the people of Ukraine
“Whom shall I fear?”
Creator God, this question of Psalm 27 is not rhetorical for the Ukrainians who are threatened by the buildup of Russian troops and saber-rattling on their borders.
Lord, be their light and their salvation. Protect the Ukrainians whom we watch on the nightly news — the elder veteran pacing an old army trench, the grandmother in her pink housecoat taking up arms, the mother and her teenagers practicing at the shooting range, the common citizens answering the call to protect their homeland, their communities, and their right to live free and secure. Strengthen President Zelenskyy as he jets from one country to the next, rallying the support of allies, while also attending to his citizens and walking the streets to encourage and reassure them.
We seek your presence also in Russia and among her troops. Save those called to kill by leaders far removed from the blood, trauma and moral injury of war. Open the hearts of political leaders who prioritize power over people.
Bless the efforts of diplomacy, that peace may soon be seen as the most profitable and proven path. Until that day when peace shall reign, until that day when enemies stop “breathing out violence” at the borders of the innocent, let us hold onto the promise that we “shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” On behalf of those who suffer and struggle, we wait and we pray and we listen to the psalmist. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Amen.
(Teri McDowell, Presbyterian Outlook)

“God of love, we are disconcerted by the violence in our world, and especially now by the acts of war in Ukraine. Enable us to stand in solidarity with those who suffer, and who live today in fear and anxiety. Sustain the hope of all those, in this beloved part of the world, who seek justice and peace. Send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of peace, to inspire the leaders of nations and inspire all people.”
(Source: Brother Alois, Taize)

“I really struggle with hope – regularly, to be sure, but particularly in this situation. Peacemaking has not come up with reliable ways to deter naked aggression. Hope and faith tell us they can – history tells us that they must. Alas, the day of our hopes’ fulfillment has not come, and I, for one, struggle to choose hope when it’s so hard to feel it”. (Rev Eric Anderson, in response to Maren’s prayer)
Eric’s response would be a good introduction to a prayer of confession, stating honestly how most of us feel. Followed by a time of silence… maybe tea light candle lighting – holding stubborn hope like those twinkling tea lights – when the alternative is despair…
Followed by a time of singing ‘O Lord hear my prayer’ (Taize) – I prefer to adapt so it’s our/us/we as a communal prayer…
Or listen to David MacGregor’s beautiful lament music…

Holy One,
I pray on behalf of those who can’t pray today…
who can’t find the words
who can’t risk feeling the feelings
who can’t lift up their hopes because
because they are accustomed to disappointment.
I pray on behalf of those who can’t pray today…
although their breath is prayer
and their bodies are prayer
and the Spirit prays in and through them
and somedays just living is a prayer.
I pray on behalf of those who can’t pray today…
and I’m unsure what to say
or how to say it
but I hope this prayer finds you
holds you
loves you
until you can pray again
and again pray for me.
(Source: Rev Ellie Elia, Transforming Worship Facebook post)

God of peace and justice,
The world woke up to the news of the Russian bombing in Ukraine.
We come before you with doubt and fear.
We ask for your help. We ask for your compassion. We ask for your guidance.
Look at the innocent people in Ukraine and Russia. Listen to the cry of the children,
grown and old people, who didn’t want this war.
Redirect the military thinking of political leaders to strive for peace solutions.
Help humanity to find other ways to resolve conflict other than those involving weapons.
Your son is the Prince of Peace and in him we trust.
Help us, O Lord. Amen.
Let not anger cover the sun of love. Jesus Christ is our guide, he is our light!
(Source: IECLB Presidency Pastoral Letter Prayer – February 2022)

We Pray For Peace
We pray for peace
Peace which passes understanding
Peace in the hearts of individuals
Peace at the heart of relationships
Peace between people
Peace between communities
Peace between nations
Peace of the heart
Peace of the soul
The peace of your love
The peace of your grace
The peace of your justice
Peace which disturbs and haunts us
Peace which disrupts and unsettles us
Peace which discomforts and harasses us
Which creates a hungry desire
And awakens us in deep longing
Until we all join you in your work of peace
So that it might be shared by all.
Courageously, we pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Transforming Worship Facebook page)

We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine, praying for courage, for healing, for sanity and peace to prevail…
As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.
We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.
For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.
That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.
That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.
That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.
That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares
And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.
(Source: John O’Donohue)

Dear people of Ukraine,
Watching your unbreakable spirit is beyond inspiring.
I feel such pity for your plight and then I switch on the news and all I can feel is sheer admiration.
You are the literal living example of ‘grace under fire.’
To face a bully of such size with such bravery and truth, is awe-making.
If you come out of this victorious, you will have set an eternal example to the world.
If you are defeated, you will still have given us all an invaluable lesson for life.
I heard last night a baby was born in the underground.
Surrounded by love, support, help and hope.
The ultimate reminder that life goes on,
that a spirt is not as easy to break as a building.
Dear people of Ukraine,
I have never wanted anyone to succeed more and I am forever inspired by your courage.
You may be reminded daily how small you are in stature, on this political playing-field,
but in the eyes of the world right now, you are a giant.
(Source: Donna Ashworth)

Prayer for Peace
Eternal God,
As we are overshadowed once again by war,
We lift up before you
The innocents and vulnerable,
The victims of violence and cruelty,
Along with all who continue to sow the seeds of hate.
In the fog of war
Where truth is the first victim,
May your light, which cannot be overwhelmed,
expose the truth.
Grant to world leaders and all in positions of power today
Not only the wisdom
But also the courage
To do what is right in your sight.
Grant all who turn to you
your strength and fortitude,
Your inner peace,
Along with a continuing faith in your sovereign power,
In the face of military might.
All this we pray in the name of the Prince of Peace,
Jesus Christ,
Our living Lord and Saviour.
(Source: URC Northern Synod Moderator, Revd Dave Herbert)

Almighty God, you know how little strength we have to stand up to the abuse of power, corruption, and violence.
Strengthen us with your irresistible strength so that we do your will and make your light of truth shine here on earth. Free us from the hardships of war. May those who have lost their homes find new places to stay, give the hungry food, comfort those who weep, unite those who are separated.
Make us instruments of your peace and your righteousness, and equip us with all that is necessary to serve our fellow human beings. Do not allow your church to lose anyone out of anger towards their fellow humans and relatives; instead, like a generous God, give us reconciliation soon.
Above all, strengthen our faith, revive our hope and teach us to love.
Preserve us from the arbitrariness of the powerful of this world and lead them to recognise their limits.
Bless us with your peace so that we can work together, hand in hand, for a more free and just society, to your praise and glory.
(Source: Lutheran Church in Russia and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine through the Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe, CPCE)

Holy God,
We hold before you all who live close to war and conflict;
and all who live close to the threat of war and violence.
We remember especially at this time, people in Ukraine and Russia.
We pray for nonviolence and peaceful resolutions of conflict.
Give us hearts of hospitality and sanctuary, forgive us all our hostility and hatred.
Bring all people to the humanity you give us,
and to the reconciliation and healing for which you gave your life.
Strengthen us all to work with you to build justice and peace, reconciliation and healing, in our hearts and homes, in our streets, in all communities, neighbourhoods and nations.
Bless all who live lives for the peace and wellbeing of others, and make their service fruitful.
In the name of Christ.
(Source: Revd Inderjit Bhogal, Honorary President, The Fellowship of Reconciliation)

A prayer for Ukraine
The news can be difficult to listen to and to read.
When that news relates to faces we know
And to voices familiar to us,
It becomes all the harder to hear.
Lord God,
We ask you to hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart.
Protect them, we pray;
From violence,
From political gamesmanship,
from being used and abused.
Give, we pray,
the nations of the world the courage
and the wisdom
to stand up for justice
and the courage too,
to dare to care – generously.
Lord in your mercy,
Take from us all,
The tendencies in us
That seek to lord it over others:
Take from us those traits
that see us pursuing our own needs and wants
before those of others.
Teach us how to live in love
And dignity
And respect – following your example.
In your name and for your sake,
(Source: Church of Scotland)

Prayer for Peace in Ukraine
O God, the refuge and strength of all,
You hold the people of Ukraine in the palm of your hand.
The name of each person there,
Is written on your heart.
In the darkness of invasion
And in the mire of political machinations,
Spread we pray, the light of hope and of justice
And of peace.
Encourage those who are frightened,
To find strength in you
And in those around them –
Near and far.
Help the worldwide family of nations
To respond in love
With outstretched hearts,
Open minds,
And with too, the wisdom needed
to effect a peace that lasts.
Save us we pray,
From not caring enough.
For your Son’s sake.
(Source: Church of Scotland)

God, help us to remember…
…that life is a gift. To call it a gift is to imply that we did not earn it. Life is grace. Peace preserves life. We remember that Your intention for this world is shalom. This would be a world where human beings find themselves in right relationship with You – God, with each other, with the earth, and to one’s own self. Life is indeed a gift both to companions and enemies. We remember the gift of life that unites human beings everywhere. We know that in You, Lord Christ, death is the last enemy that will one day be defeated. This hope unites us, even as we mourn the loss of life caused by war.
Lord in your mercy/Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that violence always disrupts shalom. Christ, You died, absorbing the violence of a military machine’s ultimate weapon for insurrectionists – the cross. This death unleashed the potential for shalom once again… something war can never bring. May we see this resurrection potential all around us!
Lord in your mercy/Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that noble men and women have died in war. Many whose motives were pure, believing that this sort of sacrifice was Your will. May those of us who claim to be peacemakers remember that soldiers of any nation usually believe that their fight is for a moral good. Therefore, help us to be slow to pass judgment and quick to offer hospitality.
Lord in your mercy/Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that the way of Jesus has been marginalized from our Bibles since the days of Constantine. The day the cross and the sword went to bed with one another was the day that the church pushed further into its decline towards compromise. By turning her back to the red letters of Scripture, Christendom chose to perpetuate violence rather than follow Jesus’ own model of absorbing the wrath of the powers of this age. We pray that we would pacify violence with love.
Lord in your mercy/Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that during the days of the Reformation Christian sisters and brothers killed one another over dogma. How can we learn to love our enemies when we can’t even love ourselves? Today we spew words of violence over similar disputes when our primary disposition, according to You O Christ, is that we might be “one” as You and the Father are One.
Lord in your mercy/ Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that radical Christians during the Reformation rediscovered the subversive nature of the kingdom of God. This is a way of enemy love, nonresistance, integrity, and countercultural community. May we lean into that vision that transcends the artificial borders of nations and those that often surround our hearts.
Lord in your mercy/ Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that Dr. King serves as a modern example that nonviolence and displays of love can in fact lead revolutions. When we pull out a sword, more swords get drawn. In the same way, love inevitably multiplies. May we spark fresh revolutions of love in our day!
Lord in your mercy/ Hear our prayer.
God, help us to remember…
…that many soldiers come back from war with post-traumatic stress syndrome. PTSD reminds us that the ultimate remembering that happens for those in combat is the kind that brings forth nightmares. Help us to be prepared to comfort soldiers in their times of need.
Lord in your mercy/Hear our prayer.
Therefore, with Your Divine help, O God, we commit ourselves to being a community of RE-Membering.
…names the past and its residual effects, while also being committed to re-incorporating veterans into our Christian communities. God, with your help we commit ourselves to peacemaking by building bridges of reconciliation with veterans – refusing to live in judgment.
Lord in your mercy/ Hear our prayer.
God, we pledge our allegiance to Your kingdom as we seek to…
…name evil and we discourage followers of Jesus from any vocation that might require violence. At the same time, we refuse to distance ourselves from those who have taken part in the way of Empire. God, help us to bring shalom to these people, Your children, as You have given peace to those of us who have never pulled the trigger. And prompt us to embrace the the families of the fallen, to deplore death, and celebrate life. May we mourn with those who mourn and trust that death has in fact been defeated by Love.
May we be people who lay down our pacifistic pride, and follow the model of our Savior by stretching out our arms as a gesture of love, openness, and hospitality. Never condoning violence but always choosing forgiveness and reconciliation in spite of it. In this way, may our God of peace, Jesus Christ, receive all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise.
Glory to the Father,
And to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning
Is now
And will be forever, Amen.
(Source: Kurt Williams)

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121:1-2)
… who created us for peace among neighboring countries,
… who gave us wisdom to understand each other,
… who teach us love to resolve differences without war.
God of peace, in your mercy!
Whisper your wisdom into the ears of the leaders of nations,
That their mouths speak of peace
That their hands protect the children
That their eyes find you.
That their decisions are in the direction of stopping the war in Ukraine.
God of peace, in your mercy!
(Source: World day of Prayer)

Now there are two ways to walk:
Towards the radiance of the transfigured Christ
Or the radiance of the Bomb.
Toward the radiance that descends to touch, to heal, to restore,
Or the radiance that descends to defend, to murder, and to destroy.
Towards the radiance that glorifies
Or the radiance that vaporizes.
This day I set before you life and death,
a blessing and a curse:
Choose this day whom you will serve.
(Source: P.147, John Carden “A Procession of Prayers)

A statement from World Council of Churches here, February 2022.
The World Council of Churches is gravely concerned about the latest developments and escalating tensions threatening the peace and security of the people of Ukraine. We appeal urgently for an end to the dangerous geopolitical competition that has precipitated this crisis, for de-escalation and reduction of tensions, and for respect for international law and established national borders. We call for a return to dialogue and to the principles of the Minsk Agreements as a pathway to a peaceful resolution of the longstanding tensions and divisions in the region, within the framework of international law and commitments. We plead again for consideration of the death and suffering that any armed conflict would inevitably visit on the children, women and men of Ukraine. And once again we pray that eyes of those driving the march to war may yet be opened, and that peace may yet prevail.
(Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary, World Council of Churches)

A statement from former President Barack Obama
Russia (has) launched a brazen attack on the people of Ukraine, in violation of international law and basic principles of human decency. Russia did so not because Ukraine posed a threat to Russia, but because the people of Ukraine chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy. For exercising rights that should be available to all people and nations, Ukrainians now face a brutal onslaught that is killing innocents and displacing untold numbers of men, women, and children.
The consequences of Russia’s reckless actions extend beyond Ukraine’s borders. This illegal invasion in the heart of Europe also threatens the foundation of the international order and security. For some time now, we have seen the forces of division and authoritarianism make headway around the world, mounting an assault on the ideals of democracy, rule of law, equality, individual liberty, freedom of expression and worship, and self-determination. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows where these dangerous trends can lead – and why they cannot be left unchallenged.
People of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia’s actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people. And every American, regardless of party, should support President Biden’s efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia – sanctions that impose a real price on Russia’s autocratic elites.
There may be some economic consequences to such sanctions, given Russia’s significant role in world energy markets. But that’s a price we should be willing to pay to take a stand on the side of freedom. For over the long term, we all face a choice, between a world in which might makes right and autocrats are free to impose their will through force, or a world in which free people everywhere have the power to determine their own future.
Michelle and I will be praying for the courageous people of Ukraine, for Russian citizens who have bravely declared their opposition to these attacks, and for all those who will bear the cost of a senseless war.

A statement from Shane Claiborne
The first time the word “sin” appears in the Bible is when Cain kills his brother Abel. That is the inaugural murder, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Every time we kill, God hears the blood cry out from the ground. Violence is always sinful, and it is always evil. We must stand against the violence in Ukraine. We must also commit to respond to this sinful violence without returning it in kind, for violence only fuels the fire of hatred, resentment, and fear. We cannot love our enemies as Christ commands, and simultaneously prepare to kill them. It was Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who scolded Peter as he resorted to violence, saying to Peter, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” And yet we continue, again and again, year after year, to live by the sword and die by the sword. There is another way. We who believe in peace must be as courageous and as organized as those who believe in war. Peacemaking does not mean passivity. Peacemaking is the active resistance of violence, but not on its own terms. Peacemaking is about interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, resisting oppressors without becoming oppressors, neutralizing enemies without destroying them. Blessed are the peacemakers for they are the children of God.

Pray for Ukraine – Peace, Be Still! ( – Facebook post by James He Qi

Today, the world is so small and so interdependent that the concept of war has become anachronistic, an outmoded approach. As a rule, we always talk about reform and changes. Among the old traditions, there are many aspects that are either ill-suited to our present reality or are counterproductive due to their shortsightedness. These, we have consigned to the dustbin of history. War too should be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Dalai Lama

Episcopal prayer vigil

We Pray for Peace
FINLANDIA (“Be Still, My Soul”)
We pray for peace, O God of love and justice,
as once again, we face a time of war.
The meek and humble try — amid the crisis —
to love and build, to nurture and restore.
May leaders hear the truth the prophets teach us —
that gifts of peace are well worth struggling for.

We pray for peace, O Christ who calmed the waters —
who stilled the storm, who stilled disciples’ fear.
You spoke with love and with amazing power;
be with us now when trouble is so near.
May leaders see the miracle you offer —
that words and deeds can calm the nations here.

We pray for peace, O Spirit here among us;
your love emboldens, judges and restrains.
Take any hate and acts of impulse from us;
make leaders wise, amid competing claims.
May we seek peace, O God of love and justice;
may love and mercy be our highest aims.

Biblical References: Psalm 34:14; Psalm 85:10; Proverbs 12:20; Isaiah 11:6-8; Matthew 5:9; Luke 8:22-25; Luke 19:41; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5:22-23
Tune: Jean Sibelius, 1899 (“Be Still, My Soul”)
Text: Copyright © 2022 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:
Carolyn has given permission for free use of this hymn, including online.

Wes Granberg-Michaelson: Today I wrote these thoughts about religion and the war in Ukraine:
The war in Ukraine has a religious dimension which must be understood. For the first time in decades, two predominantly Orthodox Christian countries are fighting one another. As Ukrainian soldiers and Russian soldiers are engaging one another in mortal combat, in many cases Orthodox Christians are killing Orthodox Christians. John Paul II said, “War is always a defeat for humanity.” But this war is a defeat for Christianity, as baptized believers kill one another.
There’s a millennium of history behind this. In 980, princes in what is today Ukraine were converted to Christianity by Orthodox Christians from Constantinople. The area around Kyiv became the heart of Orthodoxy in the region for three centuries, but then moved to Moscow. Orthodox churches in Ukraine were under the “sphere of ecclesial influence” of the Moscow Patriarchate, the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, until the invasion of Crimea by the Russians in 2014. That escalated a split in the Orthodox Church in Ukraine—an unintended consequence Putin didn’t imagine—and eventually a large group of Orthodox Churches formed the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, independent from Moscow’s influence. But others remained in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with its ties to Moscow.
That split mirrors the political conflict which has now erupted into war. And it’s important because of how Putin envisions Russia’s identity and global role. He’s committed to see the glories and geography of “Mother Russia” restored. Religiously, he sees this as preserving “Christian civilization” against the secular decadence of the West. And for that, his transactional alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church is essential. Like the Czars, he wants to see Moscow as the center of political and military power over an Empire that is sanctified by the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church. And he wants an Orthodox Church he can control to reign in Ukraine.
In my ecumenical experience I have often listened to colleagues from the Russian Orthodox Church, as it emerged after the fall of communism, extol their nationalistic righteousness and dismiss the decadence of Western societies and their churches, corrupted by collusion with secular culture. To be honest, the versions of Christianity championed by those colleagues often bears a strong resemblance to the white, masculine, militarized versions of evangelical faith described with such insightful analysis by Kristin DuMez in her best-selling Jesus and John Wayne. So, it makes sense that Steve Bannon and voices of religious white nationalism look to Putin and other autocratic “Christian” leaders with such admiration.
All this underscores the grave dangers of wedding the church to nationalistic power and perceived righteousness. The possibilities of faithful prophetic witness are repressed and eliminated. Nationalism becomes idolatry. Belonging to a global Body of Christ which transcends national boundaries is destroyed. The possibility of the church acting within situations of conflict and war as a channel of peacemaking vanishes. And at times, the church even ends up blessing weapons of destruction.
The Orthodox Church is severely divided between the Ecumenical Patriarch still in Constantinople (Istanbul), the symbolic figure of Orthodox unity, and the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. That’s a centuries old tension, now deeply accentuated by today’s war. Among all this war’s casualties will be a deeper rendering of the Orthodox world. One can only pray that the rival Orthodox Churches in Ukraine might find some bridges of cooperation through solidarity with the suffering of their common land.
And what is the shape of a wider global Christian witness in the face of this war? The danger, I think, is to immediately move toward invoking the “just war” theory. The Russian side, led by President Putin, is so obviously the aggressor, determined to take over Ukraine by brute military force. Even measured diplomats are calling Putin “evil.” All that has justification. But historically, most conflicts which ethicists try to label as “just wars,” when begun, as the inexorable dynamics of warfare take over, eventually become just a war.
For the follower of Jesus, war can never be the answer. But what are the alternatives? Can non-violent resistance find any expression? In fact, economic and political sanctions are a start. Of course, it’s clear that the sanctions imposed by countries against Putin’s Russia could not prevent him from his aggression. But they can impose a severe cost which will grow over time. While they are presently discussed as a tool in the arsenal of countries not becoming directly engaged militarily, it’s worth putting them within the moral framework of non-violent resistance.
The irony is that in a globalized, economically integrated world, which breeds its own injustices, economic sanctions can become a viable and powerful tool to respond to brute aggression which breeches international law. We should remember that the apartheid regime in South Africa was finally broken when economic boycotts and disinvestment became a part of the resistance to evil.
In sum, the global Christian community should support and participate in all those forms of non-violent resistance to Putin’s aggression, even while knowing that in the short run, those are not likely to deter his actions. Over time, these have a possibility of making a difference. Then, the Christian community should engage in all those opportunities of solidarity with those who suffer—solidarity expressing itself in both material and spiritual ways.
Further, the Christian community should resist every attempt to use religious faith as a transactional tool to support the self-righteous nationalism of any regime, autocratic or democratic. And finally, we should remain faithful is proclaiming that wars never win, in the end, and that Christ’s resurrection demonstrates how violence is all, ultimately, undone by the power of God’s love.

Also, ‘Putin’s Spiritual Destiny‘ is an important read – he wants to rebuild Christendom.
Jarrod McKenna’s response – Christianity is either participating in the nonviolent liberating love found in Jesus, or it is simply a blasphemous version of everything Jesus came to save us from. For example, Putin’s Christianity.

Russians protesting against the invasion of Ukraine in Russia, where such protests are illegal.

Litany for peace in troubled times
God the Father,
have mercy on us.
God the Son,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy and blessed Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.
In these days of trouble, fear and sorrow,
have mercy on us.
In our despair at the violence that seems to fill the world,
have mercy on us.
In the pain of lost life and shattered hopes,
have mercy on us.
In our grieving for those who have died,
have mercy on us.
In our compassion for all who are bereaved,
have mercy on us.
From the history of violence
that corrupts every society and our own, 
O Lord, deliver us.
From the greed and injustice
that divide the world into rich and poor, 
O Lord, deliver us.
From the urge for revenge
that adds to the cycle of violence,
O Lord, deliver us.
From the fear that grows into hatred
for people who are different,
O Lord, deliver us.
From being too quick to attribute blame and demand retribution,
O Lord, deliver us.
From believing ourselves safe
through anything other than your grace, 
O Lord, deliver us.
From dying suddenly and unprepared,
O Lord, deliver us.
For those who plan and carry out acts of violence,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For all who seek justice and ensure the rule of law,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the victims of war and terrorism everywhere on earth,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For all who live in fear, and for refugees from violent regimes,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For courage to resist demonising and dehumanising others,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For wisdom in choosing the paths of peace,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For solidarity with the suffering of the dispossessed,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For generosity in sharing fairly the world’s resources,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For respect in conversation with people of other faiths, and none,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For honesty in knowing and confessing the sin in our own hearts,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For grace to change and be changed as you forgive us,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For rescue workers and medical teams
treating those injured in conflict zones,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For aid agencies and their workers,
responding with practical care in dangerous places, 
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the leaders of all the nations,
looking for ways to work together beyond fear and suspicion, 
Lord, hear our prayer.
For people of goodwill, responding generously
to the needs of suffering communities,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For all who have friends and family
involved in areas of conflict and disaster,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For communities that are terrified
by missiles, snipers, vigilantes or death squads, 
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the vulnerable and defenseless in conflict zones,
for the children, the elderly, the disabled, the sick: 
Lord, hear our prayer.
For Christ to bring all the peoples of the world
into one flock with one shepherd,
we pray to you, O God.
For Christ to bring healing and comfort for those we love who are sick or in mourning,
we pray to you, O God.
For Christ to lead us into the paths of peace,
writing the law of love on our hearts,
we pray to you, O God.
For Christ to bring us, with all who have died in faith, to a joyful resurrection,
we pray to you, O God.
God of all peace,
have mercy on our broken and divided world,
and on your people who cry out to you for healing, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Source: St James)

Ok God,
You know that sometimes,
Ok let’s be honest,
All too often,
My hands are outstretched!
Not because I’m throwing my hands up in praise
but rather because they feel WAY too empty.
And I can’t find a way to help–
So I pray.
So here I am Sweet Jesus,
In the middle of a veritable plague,
on the edge of what could be World War 3,
while dictators invade innocent nations,
while families are treatened to be ripped apart
for supporting and loving and affirming
your God imaged trans and lesbian and gay and nonbinary children
and black and brown people are still killed without warrant or warrants
and books are being banned and burned
and gun violence is up everywhere
and home prices are through the roof–
Is this how it felt Jesus, when you were born
in the middle of occupied Jerusalem
Is this how the disciples felt
when they asked you the same questions
over and over (and over) again.
Did you have compassion for them,
because you knew their questions were a form of prayer?
God why is this happening?
How do we stop it?
Why do we fall into these patterns of evil again and again.
Hosanna! Save us! Help us!
God, as we enter this lonely time time of Lent,
Help me to walk with you, I pray.
because, God knows,
You know,
I at least don’t want to walk it alone.
And so here I am,
with an empty handed prayer,
knowing that I’m asking for something to do
and what you ask will not be easy…
but I choose to pray anyway,
Because I don’t want to be empty handed anymore!Lord hear my prayer,
Amen. Amen.
(Source: Pastor Katy Stenta)

A Universal Prayer for Peace
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our lives, our world, our universe.
Peace, peace, peace.

A prayer for those in danger
God of mercy, by whose grace
in all who suffer is Christ crucified,
we pray for those in danger today,
for all who know oppression, injustice or fear,
whose land is invaded,
or whose home is unsafe.
Be with them and shelter them in your love;
give them courage and hope;
enfold them in your grace.
Touch their wounds; heal their trauma.
May the strength of the earth be theirs,
the freedom of the sky, the peace of the trees.
We bear in our hearts all who are afraid.
May they bear our love in theirs, for we are one.
In the unity of your Holy Spirit
you hold us together as one humanity,
one world, one body, one hope.
May your Peace change the hearts
of those who misuse power.
May the Peace of Christ
be with us all. Amen.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light,

Wherever human hearts turn cold
and violence becomes the only fire
that seems to take away the chill,
may your love douse those flames,
its flowing waters extinguishing every spark of hate,
calming, purifying, its irresistible warmth
becoming the focus of all our hearts and souls.
(Source: John Birch)

The Chief Rabbi of Ukraine has asked for Christians to recite Psalm 31 aloud. (This is only a small piece of it below) Ukraine has a sizable Jewish minority of at least 50,000 people. Historically the Jewish people have faced a lot of persecution under Russian rule.
Psalm 31 21-24
21 Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he repays in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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