On February 24, Russia announced the invasion of Ukraine. Here’s what it means for missionaries.
Originally published on the ABWE blog site by Alex Kocman on Feb 24, 2022.
On February 24, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation announced the invasion of Ukraine.
As governments contemplate their next steps, believers across the world and mobilizing to pray.
How should we pray for Ukraine, its churches, and the mission workers in the region? Here’s a list of prayer requests directly from our teammates in Eastern Europe and the Eurasia region—with slight modifications for security purposes.
Join us in praying for our fellow workers for the kingdom.
1. Pray for Ukrainians
“Pray for Ukrainians, some of whom do not have options as they weigh their response. Pray for the Ukrainian churches we partner with. . . . [We are] dedicated to prayer and fasting, with prayer meetings occurring every night.” (Missionary family in Ukraine)
Many foreign workers have left, but most nationals have not. Lift up the Ukrainians who can’t uproot from their homeland and ask God to show mercy to them through turbulent times.
2. Pray for Peace
“Pray for a peaceful resolution.” (Holly in Ukraine)
We know that as long as sin is in the world, nations rage against God and against each other (Ps. 2:1). We don’t expect perfect harmony on this side of Christ’s return. Nevertheless, Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) and the ruler of earth’s governments (Rev. 1:5). We can—and must—appeal to him to quiet the clamor of warring nations.
Pray the promise of Psalm 46:9 back to God: “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.”
Support Ukrainians affected by the attacks
The Ukraine Crisis Fund supports both missionaries and local churches, helping them navigate difficult times and provide for their communities. Currently, the crisis fund is providing gas, coal, housing, and food.GIVE NOW
3. Pray for Missionaries to Love Others
“Pray that whatever happens, we will faithfully love and serve those around us.” (Holly in Ukraine)
Missionaries aren’t superhuman. Like all of us, sometimes their hearts turn inwards instead of outwards to the world. Pray that their hearts would open in love to their neighbors—the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. That means risk, sacrifice, heartache, and the uncomfortable decision to put others first.
4. Pray for Christian Workers to Use Wisdom
“Please keep praying with and for us, especially for wisdom during these uncertain times.” (Kristin in Ukraine)
“Pray for our teammates . . . These decisions are not easy. For example, what is to be packed in the event of temporary relocation? Or who will take care of the apartment/house in their absence? How will financial obligations be managed from afar? Many emotions are involved as well.” (Jason in Eastern Europe)
Missionaries have faced tough choices of whether to stay or go. This is not new. Large parts of the New Testament concern the Apostle Paul’s changing travel plans. God is at work through all these circumstances.
Pray that God would give missionaries wisdom, opportunities to love and serve their neighbors, and faith to do God’s will no matter where they live.
5. Pray for Ministries to Be Faithful
“Pray that we would continue to walk faithfully!” (Kristin in Ukraine)
Even the Apostle Paul asked for prayer that he would take advantage of the ministry opportunities in front of him (Col. 4:3). Ask God to help missionaries stay on task. Pray that they’d feel the weight of Paul’s words in their bones: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord” (Col. 4:17).
Pray for Ukraine
Facing tense and uncertain times, missionaries and Ukrainians need prayer partners. Will you join us in praying for strength and safety for our brothers and sisters over there?
6. Pray for Financial Support
“We are beyond the preparedness phase. We are ready to respond.” (Ukraine team leader)
Through our partnership with Ukrainian pastors, we’re ready to:
- Provide housing for refugees
- Feed the community
- Fund evangelistic outreach projects to families and soldiers
- Pay for wood and coal to heat church buildings
- Purchase gas to help volunteers reach impoverished villages scarred by war
- Support crisis counseling for Ukrainians affected by conflict
Pray and consider a gift to the Ukraine Crisis Fund or to other Ukraine ministries like the Church Ministries Institute (CMI).
7. Pray for Encouragement for Believers
“The headlines we read are frightening. Reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:8: ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.’” (Missionary family in Ukraine)
No Christian is immune from discouragement. Pray that as war breaks out, believers in Christ would cast themselves upon his sustaining care. Paul’s sufferings happened to him in order to spread the gospel—pray that God would do the same here, advancing his kingdom through turmoil.
You can find the latest articles and prayer requests written by our workers in Ukraine here. They will be updated as the situation progresses.
8. Pray for Expat Churches
“Pray for the international church . . . since 90% of our people are foreigners. Many of them don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian and don’t have other contacts or places to go in Ukraine. Also, many don’t have the means to simply leave the country.” (Caleb in Ukraine)
Expatriate churches are in a uniquely risky situation. Pray that God would give special insight, discernment, and initiative to the non-native, Christian residents of Ukraine.
9. Pray for Ministries Continuing on the Ground
“[O]ur teammates taught a three-day course for new members and those interested in baptism. A Hindu was among the attendees. Yesterday, a teammate completed The Story of Hope with a newly baptized young lady. This woman is now hoping to go through this booklet with one of her unbelieving friends!” (Regional Director in Eastern Europe)
News headlines never tell the whole story. God is still changing hearts and saving souls in Ukraine. Pray that this would continue and that these ministries would see much fruit.
A female missionary writes: “Thank you for praying for Ukraine. We are concerned but not distressed. God is in control!” Another family shares: “We have much to be grateful for, and the stability of support during this unstable time is a great encouragement to us.” Don’t tire of lifting up these faithful workers before the throne of grace.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated as news has developed.