I Prayed have prayed
Lord, we pray for the people of Ukraine. We pray for peace — Your peace. We pray especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ there. May they know You are shielding them and guiding them as they seek to be Your light in the midst of the darkness around them. Amen.

The top official of a government watchdog agency is warning of an “imminent risk” for non-Russian Orthodox religious groups in Ukraine should Russia’s invasion be successful. Nadine Maenza, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), suggests Russia’s recent track record is troubling.

“Russia is one of the worst violators of religious freedom in the world. Narratives that Putin supports Christian values is completely false,” she tweeted on March 10.

One case in point for Maenza is Russia’s practices in the Crimea and Donbas regions that are occupied by Russia and its agents. In an interview on March 3 with FOX News, she said Russia uses “violations to suppress dissent and terrorize the population” in those places.

The European Evangelical Alliance reports that many evangelical Christians and other groups are labelled as illegal extremists in Donbas — an area of eastern Ukraine overtaken by Russia-backed rebels. Churches have been seized and a Christian university is now occupied by soldiers. Thomas Bucher, general secretary of the Alliance, called Donbas “the area of Europe where the church suffers the most.”

Also, the most recent USCIRF report on Russia highlights bans and prosecutions against religious activity in Crimea that was legal under Ukrainian law prior to the occupation. Moreover, the report notes the eviction of a non-Russian Orthodox congregation from their cathedral and the transfer of that property to the state.

Of course, you need not look that far. In Russia itself, religious groups (except — for now anyway — the Russian Orthodox Church) are at risk. Rounds of purported anti-extremism measures have made life difficult for them. In fact, Russian authorities have been using anti-missionary laws to crack down on several minorities, particularly Protestant Christians and Muslims. They have faced fines and targeted harassment.

Ukraine has been a different story. Mindy Belz recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “In Ukraine, non-Orthodox Christians, along with Jews and Muslims, hold equal legal standing to the Orthodox majority.” She notes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish, and high ranking government officials come from a variety of faith backgrounds.

However, that could change if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest aggression is successful. Belz points to comments by a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine suggesting that the invasion could well extend the reach of policies already being executed in Donbas and Crimea.

“That’s very bad news for anyone in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, for any Tatars left from Crimea, and very bad news for evangelicals and for all Protestants living in Ukraine,” said Ambassador John Herbst.

Similarly wary for the non-Russian Orthodox in Ukraine, USCIRF’s Maenza is concerned “the many diverse faiths in Ukraine that do not conform to Russia’s narrow definition of ‘traditional religion’ now face imminent risk.”

May we continue to lift up followers of Christ ministering on the front lines of this war in Ukraine and in the crowds of refugees fleeing the conflict. Let’s pray, too, for unity in the Church and that free expression of faith would be honored in all of Ukraine, as well as Russia.

How are you praying and standing in solidarity with fellow Christians in Ukraine?

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. Photo Credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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PATIENCE BAZUAYE-ALONGE
March 14, 2022

DEAR LORD, PLEASE RESCUE YOUR SAINTS IN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA. LET THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE AGGRESSORS AND THEIR DIABOLICAL WEAPONS BE UPROOTED, DESTROYED AND RENDER INEFFECTIVE IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH. PLEASE BRING DIVINE COVERAGE AND PROTECTION ON ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST AND STRENGTHEN THEM TO PERSERVERE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY. KEEP THEM FROM ALL HUNGER, LACK AND THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WAR BY YOUR MIRACULOUS POWER AND SPECIAL INTERVENTIONS.

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Eduardo
March 13, 2022

“Adonai, how many enemies I have! How countless are those attacking me; how countless those who say of me, “There is no salvation for him in God.” (Selah) But you, Adonai, are a shield for me; you are my glory, you lift my head high. With my voice I call out to Adonai, and he answers me from his holy hill. (Selah) I lie down and sleep, then wake up again, because Adonai sustains me. I am not afraid of the tens of thousands set against me on every side. Rise up, Adonai! Save me, my God! For you slap all my enemies in the face, you smash the teeth of the wicked. Victory comes from Adonai; may your blessing rest on your people. (Selah)”
‭‭Tehillim (Psa)‬ ‭3:2-9‬ ‭CJB‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/1275/psa.3.2-6.CJB

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Irina Murashova
March 12, 2022

Dear prayer warriors. More than 400 churches were bult in Russia in last 20 years. Under Putin so to speak. How many churches were closed in our country? We must repent and ask God for mercy. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” Isaiah 5:20. Forgive us, our Heavenly Father, have mercy on us, help us see what You see. In Yeshash name. Amen

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    Eduardo
    March 13, 2022

    Irina, I agree with you! Those are my prayers! We have thrown marriage back in God’s face, we have told God His gender design is faulty, we feed baal with the blood of the innocent and we quieted worship and praise by closing houses of worship!
    We MUST repent.
    Thank you for sharing!

    6
Jackie
March 12, 2022

Thank you for your prayers for the Ukraine. My paternal grandparents came from Austria-Hungry but about 3 or 4 generations before them some of the family came from the Ukraine and the war there is in many ways personal for me.

6
Sue Tracy
March 12, 2022

Surround the people of Ukraine with Your umbrella of protection protect and defend them as only You can. Bring an end to this unholy war let Your Kingdom come in Ukraine and in our world. Have mercy and save those you can. Amen

10
Beverly Steckler
March 12, 2022

Yes, I’ve been praying fervently for the Christians of Ukraine but let’s not forget those in Russia! They are undergoing deep persecution and are underground and need our prayers as well.

15
Toni Kushner
March 12, 2022

O Sovereign God, have mercy on the Ukrainian People, in love reveal Your great power. Show us Your Glory for Your Name sake bring peace to this Nation, send Your angels to minister to the needs of the people as they ministered to Jesus. May we give witness to a great outpouring of Your Spirit upon the land that many will come into the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. Awaken the Church to seek Your face , to repent and find You while there is time. Lord, renew the people in faith, in wrath remember MERCY. May the Sovereign Lord be their strength, fortress and high tower.

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Barbara Janicki
March 12, 2022

Heavenly Father, we ask You to protect Your children in Ukraine and Russia, we pray that they would be able to openly worship You in safety and peace without persecution and threats towards those that bear Your name. We are seeing how censorship of religious freedom happens, because we see it in our own country now and if we remain silent, it will continue to increase. Those that are called by Your name, please protect and may You find us faithful when You come for us. http://www.mtothe5th.wordpress.com

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Allena Jordan
March 12, 2022

Father, O Glorious One, You who sits in the heavens, I lift up Your people in Ukraine. Lord, May Your people dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Let them cry out to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Deliver them from the snares, the terrors, the bullets and bombs. Let no evil befall them. Give Your angels charge concerning them. Deliver them. Set them securely on a high place. Hide them. Protect them. When they call You, LORD, you promised to answer them. You promised to be with them in trouble. Let them see Your salvation. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth, in the Ukraine and in Russia, today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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