17 Mar Praying for Ukraine
Dear HLPC family,
At our recent Sunday evening prayer gathering for Ukraine, we looked at Jesus’ healing of the blind beggar recorded in Luke 18:35-43. As I mentioned that night, I was struck that Jesus would ask the beggar what he wanted from Jesus. Wouldn’t that have been obvious? Why did Jesus want the beggar to ask?
The same goes for prayer. Why does God call us to pray? Doesn’t He already know what we need? Is it necessary? Some of the most encouraging teaching on prayer I’ve read comes out of a book entitled Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life by Ronald S. Wallace. I think this book is out of print now. I bought my copy while in seminary.
In this book the author, as you would expect, quotes John Calvin: “The principal exercise which the children of God have is to pray; for in this way they give a true proof of their faith.” I think Calvin gets at why Jesus called for the beggar to speak out loud his need. In that way his faith was expressed. Like him, when we pour out our hearts to God, it’s an act of faith. We come to the One we know has the heart and resources for our needs.
These are stressful times for us all for a wide range of reasons. The years of COVID stress are now combined with international events that dominate headlines. I could spend an entire Pastor’s Pen listing all the health, financial, and relational trials the HLPC family is facing. God calls us to pray. He invites us to unburden ourselves before Him knowing we, and our prayers, are welcome through the intercessory work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Calvin said this regarding our prayers that are offered through the mediatorial work of Jesus: “We have the heart of God as soon as we have placed before Him the name of His Son.” I love that quote!
We are also encouraged to pray according to God’s Word using it to shape our prayers and requests. Calvin says, “The sole end and legitimate use of prayer… is that we may reap the fruits of God’s promises.”
This morning I read again Psalm 46. Verse 9 jumped out at me which reads: “He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.” I prayed that the Lord would do that in Ukraine—that He would make the war to cease so that people’s lives are spared and so that His Church may thrive in all places.
Let’s pray to a Sovereign, gracious God for the suffering in Ukraine and the suffering in our own church family in the name and merits of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let’s use God’s Word as our prayer book, especially the Psalms!