In light of a buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, Baptists in Ukraine called on Christians around the world to pray for peace in their nation.
In a social media post shared by the European Baptist Federation on April 6, the Baptist Union of Ukraine asked for Baptists globally to “have a special time of intensified prayers at every church or small-group meeting for God’s protection of our country.”
“This week we are seeing a large escalation of military forces around Ukraine,” the Baptist Union stated. “This is happening near the Ukrainian borders. Through prayer, we hope to seek reconciliation and peaceful resolution.”
Baptists in Ukraine urged other Christians to:
- “Pray for safety for our country.”
- “Pray for God’s mercy for all our people to live peacefully in Ukraine.”
- “Pray that God’s plans and his will be carried out in every part of our land.”
The statement—which quotes James 5:16, Psalm 118:5 and Psalm 118:10-14—adds, “The mighty word of God has the power to work in and through us.”
In an April 8 briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Russia has more troops on Ukraine’s eastern border than at any time since 2014, and the United States is concerned about growing “Russian aggression.” Western estimates of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border in spring 2014 varied from 25,000 to more than 30,000, according to Reuters.
In an April 9 email, Pastor Igor Bandura, an officer in the Baptist Union of Ukraine, explained Ukraine has been “in a state of war of varying intensity for seven years,” but the call to prayer was prompted by “a sudden and significant increase in Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders, as well as in annexed Crimea.”
“No one understands why Russia needed a huge increase in military forces near Ukraine’s borders,” Bandura wrote, adding some observers believe Russia is seeking to put pressure both on the Ukrainian government and on the United States and NATO.
“It is also seen as an attempt to show that Russia has consistently adhered to its plans to hold Crimea despite all sanctions. Unfortunately, confidence that there will be no military operation in the near future is diminishing,” he wrote.
Bandura specifically asked Christians to pray for:
- “Peace and preservation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
- “Local churches in the occupied territories of the Donetsk region. They are persecuted and forbidden to preach the gospel.”
- “Missionaries and their families organizing new churches in villages and towns near the demarcation line.”
- “Chaplains at the front, in military units, hospitals and among widows with children.”
- “Wisdom for Ukrainian government and all international partners who are working on the solution to the situation.”