The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (Jas. 5:16).
War is horrible. What’s happening in Ukraine is no different. We have the technology to watch it unfolding in real time. That gives the illusion that we know everything that’s happening and why. We can know this: laying siege to cities, killing people, and destroying property are evil.
War doesn’t change. Ancient history records Assyrian King Sennacherib invading the land of Judah. His tactics were the same as Russia’s only without tanks, jets, and missiles. At one point, he sent a letter calling for surrender by Judean King Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s response was to remain faithful to God.
His response is worth considering as you pray for Ukraine and as you face your own personal trials. Hezekiah’s prayer (2 Kings 19:14-19) reveals the heart of a faithful believer.
(1) Hezekiah “spread it out before the Lord.” He acknowledged the problem was beyond his control, and took it to the Lord as an act of worship.
(2) “You are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth.” There is no place on earth that is beyond God’s reach or view. He has the power to intervene.
(3) “The kings of Assyria have devastated the nations.” It helps you to name the specific dangers that concern you.
(4) “Deliver us from his hand.” Jesus taught us to pray that the Father deliver us from evil. We are aware of evil because of the moral law embedded within us by a moral Lawgiver. He causes things to work together for good (Rom. 8:28).
(5) “That all may know that You are God.” May God make Himself known to a doubting world, and may His will be done.
This is not a formula to persuade God to fix everything that’s wrong, like forcing Russia to retreat from Ukraine. (To be sure, THAT would be a miracle). Rather, this is the posture of a believer who acknowledges the hand of Providence in human affairs. The believer who trusts that God will accomplish His purposes in the world is the believer who is faithful in prayer.