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How to pray for Ukraine

A guide for individuals, groups and churches to pray for peace in Ukraine and around the world.

Written by Gideon Heugh and Rachael Adams | 19 Apr 2022

Credit: Nika Art/Shutterstock

When faced with a crisis like the conflict in Ukraine, it can be hard to know how to pray. But the desire to pray itself is a great place to start. This guide is divided into two sections: the first giving you suggestions about what to pray for, and the second providing different creative prayer ideas for you and your church, group or family to use.

What to pray for…

There are five areas we can focus our prayers on: for people affected by the violence; for those in leadership positions; for God’s power and love to be revealed through the church; for the wider global impact; and for peace

 Pray for people affected by the violence

Pray for those in positions of leadership

Pray for the church

Pray for the global impact 

Pray for peace

‘The Bible can help guide us in prayer – especially in tough situations when it can be difficult to find the right words’

Ways to pray…

Listed below are five different ways of praying that you can use as you pray  for Ukraine. These are fasting; using a written prayer; praying with a map; baking Ukrainian bread; and lighting a candle. These can be done on your own or as part of a group.

Pray by fasting

Fasting is a form of prayer that’s been around for thousands of years. It involves purposefully giving up something that you’ll miss in order to shape your focus. 

Pray using scripture

The Bible can help guide us in prayer – especially in tough situations when it can be difficult to find the right words.

Choose one of the following passages of scripture to read through, or pick your own: Matthew 6:6-13; Isaiah 61:1-4; or Luke 6:20-26.

Pray with a map

Use an internet search engine, globe or an atlas to find a map of Ukraine. Google Maps can be a useful tool for this.

As you look at the map, invite the Holy Spirit to reveal a particular location to you. This could be a particular town, area, or border.

Once you have chosen somewhere, lay your hand above it on the map. Pray for that location and the people there. Ask God to reveal specific things you can pray for, or use the first part of this guide to help.

If doing this activity as a group, you could take it in turns to choose a location to pray over. If you’re using a physical map, you could keep it up as a reminder to pray and add Post-it notes throughout the week.

Pray by baking bread

Bread is often regarded as sacred in Ukrainian culture. Ukraine is an incredibly fertile nation – producing nearly 10 per cent of the world’s wheat. Bread and salt placed on an embroidered towel is a symbol of welcome there.

Bread is an important part of Christian celebrations in the country. At Easter, for example, families bake a Paska loaf, then take it to church to be blessed before going home to eat it.

As a prayerful act of solidarity with Ukraine, you could bake a loaf of bread. You could use a traditional Ukrainian recipe, or your own. This is a great activity to do with your family or a church group.

Once you have baked the bread, place it on a tea towel. Lay your hands over it and say a prayer for Ukrainian families. Break the bread with your hands (in many Eastern European and Central Asian cultures bread is too sacred to be cut with a knife), then say another prayer for peace in the region.

Candles in a window. When we light even a small candle in a dark room, it becomes a bright star | Image Credit: Tearfund.

Pray by lighting a candle

Jesus is the light of the world. Amid the darkness of conflict in Ukraine and around the world, lighting a candle can become a powerful symbol of an eternal truth: love is stronger than hate.

Find a quiet place where you can relax and light a candle safely. If you can, turn off all other lights. Part of prayer is listening out for how God is already at work – the following activity can help with this. You can do this alone, or have someone lead a group through the practice.

Thank you

Thank you for joining us in prayer for Ukraine. The prayer activities above can also be used to pray for other conflicts around the world. Let’s continue to pray and act together on behalf of people suffering the effects of violence everywhere.

Written by

Written by  Gideon Heugh and Rachael Adams

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