A Global Peace Prayer on 22 March drew hundreds of Christians from Europe and beyond to pray and advocate for peace in a world where war and violence abound.
The online prayer was jointly organised by the Conference of European Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the Baptist World Alliance, the Mennonite World Conference, World Methodist Council, World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the World Council of Churches.
The prayer was inspired by the biblical premise, “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore,” Isaiah 2:4.
As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, prayers for peace were raised not only for Ukraine but for other areas suffering from violence or a threat, including escalating violence in Palestine, continuing military exercises threatening peace on the Korean peninsula, state violence in Myanmar, and a fragile situation in Ethiopia.
Katerina Pekridou, CEC Executive Secretary for Theological Dialogue prayed for God to shake the foundations of selfish human plans. “Open the hearts of those in the west, caught as we are in the web of our own economic self-interests,” she said. “Preserve us from the arbitrariness of the powerful of this world and lead them to recognise their limits, that they may find ways toward peace, and put an end to the loss of life.”
Rev. Yulia Starodubet, from the Methodist Church of Ukraine, described the many emotions those in Ukraine have felt since the Russian invasion: anger, sadness, depression. “But God helped us in this situation and changed our emotions to hope, desire to stay strong, and resilience,” she said. “We make it because the world is on our side.”
Starodubet expressed gratitude for global solidarity and for persistent prayer. “Your love and care helps us continue to hope and stay strong,” she said.
Oleksii Yudit, a Mennonite from Ukraine, also urged persistent prayer. “Please pray for our needs. Please pray for our people. Please pray about our soldiers and about our country,” he said.
Igor Bandura, form the All-Ukrainian Union of Association of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, described the great needs of the people in Ukraine. “People are in terrible condition,” he said. “Most of all, they need God’s love surrounding them. So please, stay with us, during the time of the war. Please pray for the victory.”
Yulilya Kominko, from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, described how the ongoing war has caused a crisis of faith for many. “I constantly hear: ‘My faith is wavering.’ Let us pray that we remain faithful to God, to thank him even in suffering.”