Category: Pondering Peace
Sighs and Prayers for Ukraine
This week Dr. Kwangsup Shin, Assistant Professor of Missional Church Studies, shared this devotional during our faculty meeting. We found it to be meaningful and want to share it with others during these troubling times.
 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. The LORD will teach us God’s ways, so that we may walk in God’s paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
 God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Last week, the news of a war caused by a dictator who is willing to commit murder and violence for his own greed and self-interest has left us all sighing in sorrow and anger. Innocent citizens are sacrificed, cities are ruined, and someone’s husband, father, son and daughter bleed to death. In the midst of anger, sighs and sorrow, questions arise as to where God is now and whether God is still working for God’s mission.
But we know and we believe. God is still at work in the hearts of many longing for peace. God is still at work through the actions of many peace seekers. God is still working through the prayers and supplications of many longing for peace. God is still faithfully working for God’s mission in God’s eternal promises. “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
Let us pray for Ukraine while trusting in God’s promises and works.
He then recited a prayer written by the Rev. Emily Brewer, Executive Director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. Found at https://www.presbypeacefellowship.org/a-sigh-of-prayer-for-ukraine/. Rev. Brewer provided permission to re-publish this prayer on the Central Seminary website.
We sigh. We sigh because words cannot express our anguish, our hurt, our despair, knowing that siblings in Ukraine are fleeing their homes for their lives, that the cities and towns that hold memories and culture and history may be destroyed.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And so we sigh. Let us breathe together.
<take a deep breath>
May our sighs remind us
that we all share the same air;
that what impacts one of us impacts all of us;
that life is precious to God and war is never necessary.
May our sighs be a prayer
for every Ukrainian who worries about surviving today;
for those who will not survive this invasion;
for those who will survive and be forever changed by the trauma of war;
for those Russian soldiers who question their orders and refuse to use their weapons.
May our sighs be a prayer
for nuclear deproliferation;
for an end to the sin of imperialism and colonization.
May our sighs be a prayer for truth, peace, and solidarity to guide each of us;
May our sighs be a prayer for Ukraine and the whole world.
May our sighs fill our bodies with air
to breathe through grief and fear and
fill us with courage and connection,
so that we are ready to act in solidarity with Ukraine,
for an end to this war
and all war.
[This prayer is written by the Rev. Emily Brewer, Executive Director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. Found at https://www.presbypeacefellowship.org/a-sigh-of-prayer-for-ukraine/]
Image used for this post was made by Chuko Cribb