Many prayers reflect political beliefs. The internet is now filling with prayers for Ukraine and/or Russia after last night’s invasion. What do we pray?
I have discovered that sometimes the traditional prayers are best. The Presbyterian Church has preserved prayers in their Books of Worship for decades. Here are two below:
For Peace Among Nations
guide the nations of the world into ways of justice and truth,
and establish among them that peace
which is the fruit of righteousness,
that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
In Time of International Crisis
Eternal God, our only hope,
our help in times of trouble:
show nations ways to work out differences.
Do not let threats multiply
or power be used without compassion.
May your will overrule human wilfulness,
so that people may agree and settle claims peacefully.
Hold back those who are impulsive,
lest desire for vengeance overwhelm our common welfare.
Bring peace to earth, through Jesus Christ,
the Prince of Peace and Saviour of us all. Amen.
Do Not Lose Hope
When you hear news reports of nations at war, there is a temptation to lose all hope. Jesus encouraged us that wars are not the end of humanity.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.Matthew 24:6
Wars are an expression of humanity, not the end of humanity (James 4:1). With the ability to excess minute information from remotest parts of the earth, we are now more fully aware of the human nature to warfare. The following prayer from Brother Roger of Taizé seems appropriate.
at times we are like strangers on this earth,
taken aback by all the violence, the harsh oppositions.
Like a gentle breeze, you breathe upon us the Spirit of peace.
Transfigure the deserts of our doubts,
and so prepare us to be bearers of reconciliation
wherever you place us,
until the day when a hope of peace
dawns in our world. Amen.
Rather than focus on the actions of others (like Russia in this case) and carry out our own political ambitions through others (using Ukraine in this case), let us be sure to pray for ourselves and our nation. Let us be responsible for our actions and ensure they are pleasing to God. Perhaps a prayer of confession given by President Woodrow Wilson illustrates this best.
For Our Nation
Almighty God, ruler of all the peoples of the earth,
forgive, we pray, our shortcomings as a nation;
purify our hearts to see and love truth;
give wisdom to our counsellors
and steadfastness to our people;
and bring us at last to the fair city of peace,
whose foundations are mercy, justice, and goodwill,
and whose builder and maker you are:
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.