The invasion of Ukraine has been traumatic for the whole nation, including the church. Knowing that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), we might ask ourselves “what good can come from this terrible situation?” How can Jesus be glorified?
Romans 8:29 goes on to tell us that we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Through all our trials and tribulations, God is at work to make us more like Jesus.
One way we become more like Jesus is through growing in unity. Jesus prayed:
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21)
Unity is powerful. It is a primary way, God’s love is released among us, “so that the world may believe…” Sadly, our track record in this is, to say the least, patchy.
We do not know how the war in Ukraine will work out. However, if God’s people grow in true unity good will come from it. Therefore, one way we can pay for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine is to pray for their unity.
- Within their churches: for all to remain in one heart and mind, standing together and supporting one another, despite all the pressures.
- Within their cities: for churches to come together in prayer, service and evangelism to their cities, towns, villages and regions.
- Within their nation: for unity to be expressed across denominations.
Beyond all that, we can pray for a unity that is lasting, that is based on strong relationships, that will not evaporate when the pressures of war are over, that will stimulate the growth of the kingdom for years to come, because God’s people are becoming more like Jesus.
Finally, as we pray this for our brothers and sisters, we should also pray for ourselves and examine our own hearts. Unity is challenging and we in the UK have often fallen short. We cannot pray this for our brothers and sisters without facing the challenges ourselves and seeking to be more like Jesus in our relationships with fellow Christians. Then, the hardship and pain of Ukraine will have brought good to our own country too.