Maybe you have heard about what’s happening in Ukraine – where upwards of 25,000 people have taken to the streets in anti-government protests.
A friend of mine who is a pastor in Ukraine spoke at our church here in Longmont a few months ago (click here to watch that video), and today I asked him to write a brief synopsis on what is going on in Ukraine and how we can be praying for them. Here is what he wrote:
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” 1 Cor. 12:26
You may have seen in the news recently that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic sandwiched between Russia and the European Union, is in the middle of massive street protests. These protests were originally in reaction to the president breaking his promise to sign an association agreement with the EU. People were angry and began to protest on the main square of the capital, Kiev. After a few days on Nov. 30th, the president tried to end the protest with a massive show of violence, sending out special forces and riot police to beat peaceful protesters with batons. They struck in the middle of the night when the fewest number of protesters were there to resist. They beat both men and women indiscriminately and savagely, though the protesters posed no threat. The president hoped that he would be able to put a stop to the people calling him to accountability for his broken promises. He was wrong. The reaction was the opposite and the next day many more people joined the protest. This became no longer primarily a question of economics or which countries to build alliances with, but an outcry against human rights abuses, violence and oppression.
Last night the president sent in troops and police again to try to clear the main square, though with more restraint as far as violence goes. They attack began around 1:30am local time, again when there were less protesters to resist. Many believers across Ukraine began praying. We called each other, sent texts, waking one another up to stand before our mighty God and Savior and ask for Him to intervene. It looked like this was the end of the protest and there was a thin line of protesters holding back a flood of riot police. But then little by little people flocked to the square from all over Kiev in the middle of the night. Soon the numbers were even. Then the protesters were the majority. By a miracle of the grace of God and in response to the prayers of His people, the protesters endured through the night and are still there. The morning found a renewed protest and masses flocked to rebuild the barricades the police and special forces had torn down during the night.
But the conflict is not over. Tonight promises to be an important and difficult night on Independence Square in Kiev. The protesters are more organized now, talking about organizing shifts for the night watch, but even then it will not be easy. Also, the temperatures dipped down to almost 5F during the night last night. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, including many pastors, are on the main square and will spend the night there ministering to the people and praying for God’s protection and peace and that His justice would triumph. Near the beginning of the protests, some pastors set up an inter-denominational prayer tent on the square and people are coming to pray and even receiving Christ during this difficult time!
The Word of God calls us to stand in unity and solidarity with both our brothers and sisters in Christ and with the oppressed and weak. In this case, there is great overlap in those two categories. I would beg you to stand together with the church in Ukraine before God and intercede at this pivotal moment in the nation’s history.
Please pray for the following points:
1. Not against any party or person per se, but for the nation of Ukraine, that God would pour out His blessing and mercy on this people.
2. That God, who is not a God of disorder, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33) would establish His peace, order and justice in this land.
3. That God, who hates the hands that shed innocent blood (Pr. 6:17) would protect the people from violence and bloodshed, regardless of political affiliation.
4. That God would bless those currently in power by bringing them to repentance and the knowledge of Him and that they would rule in submission to God and turn from their wickedness, that we might live quietly and peaceably. (2 Tim. 2:2)
5. That the people would not be cursed in turning their hope to yet another man or political party in this time of trouble, but would be blessed by putting their hope in the Lord. (Jer. 17:5-7)
6. That the true enemy of man, Satan, who desires to steal, kill and destroy, would be cast down and that his plots would not prevail. (Eph. 6:12)
7. That, as our Lord Himself taught us to pray, the kingdom of God would come and His will be done on earth as in heaven. (Mt. 6:10)
Thank you for standing together as one body with your brothers and sisters in Ukraine. God bless you and God bless the people of Ukraine!