Materials prepared 5th March 2022)
Joy Vee is a Christian children’s author, who lives in the UK now, but is married to a Ukrainian. She lived in Ukraine and Russia for 7 years. She has a message for you, and ways that you can pray:
Many of you are seeing the events in Ukraine on the news and feel frightened and sad. You may have family in Ukraine, or friends with family out there. Or maybe you see other boys and girls and feel sad for them. Maybe you feel afraid that war might happen here, or you might feel guilty that you are safe at home, and they are not.
All these feelings are normal. Lots of people are feeling the same thing. And sometimes I feel these things too – but I have another feeling too – and I want to share that with you. I have hope. Does that surprise you? Can I tell you why I have hope?
I have hope because many Ukrainians know Jesus.
When I was your age, for the people who lived in Ukraine and Russia, it was illegal to follow Jesus. Christians were put in prison and there were very few churches. However, when the people of Ukraine became independent, many of them came to know Jesus. There were lots of churches built and lots of good things happened in the nation. In fact, every time Ukraine has had a revolution, the people start the day with prayer. In Ukraine, there are many, many people who know Jesus. Right now, they are working hard to look after people, feed them, help them escape. They are also praying with them and sharing Jesus with them.
I have hope because I know how powerful God is.
In the Bible there are lots of stories of God fighting on behalf of his people (see 2 Kings 6:8-23 and 2 Chronicles 20). My friends and family in Ukraine are telling me similar stories. Here are a few I have heard this week or seen myself in videos:
Rockets landing on the ground, but not exploding.
Enemy tanks getting lost and running out of petrol or getting stuck in the mud.
Aeroplanes dropping their soldiers in the wrong place – and one time, the wind blew the parachutists all the way back to their own country again.
Soldiers surrendering because they don’t want to kill people.
We serve a powerful God, and He can do miracles to save His people.
I still ask God why He doesn’t stop ALL the planes, rescue ALL the people. I think it’s OK to ask God those questions and to keep asking Him to save MORE people. But don’t lose sight of the fact that He is doing miracles, and saving lives, even though they don’t report that much on the news.
There are some really special things you can pray about – I’m going to give you five things to pray for – one for each finger on your hand.
1) This is for your thumb – because this one is the most important and affects all the others – in the same way your thumb can reach all your fingers. Pray for more people to come to know JESUS. When people know Jesus, they have peace, God can speak to them, and when they die, they go to be with Him in heaven. Knowing Jesus makes everyone’s life better now, and we have heaven to look forward to. (I pray this for Ukrainians and Russians – God wants everyone to come to know Jesus – 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
2) This is for your pointer finger – the one that can poke the hardest – don’t try it out! Pray for the attacks to stop. I pray for Putin to come to know Jesus – then he will stop attacking the Ukrainians. Maybe God will use our governments to help stop the attacks, or maybe angels will stop the attacks – like we read in the Bible. I don’t mind how God does it, but I want to the attacks to stop.
3) The middle finger is the tallest. Pray for the Ukrainian people to stand strong and tall – for them not be afraid. When we are afraid, we can’t think properly, we panic, we get very stressed. Touch your middle finger to your thumb – Pray the Ukrainian people will not be afraid, because Jesus is with them. Pray for Christians to be strong in their hope in Jesus.
4) The fourth finger is where we wear our wedding rings. Pray for families who are separated by this war. Pray for Jesus to be close to them and give them peace.
5) The fifth finger is the one we use the clean the dirt out of our ears. There are lots of lies going around all over the world, and especially in Russia. Pray for people to have cleaned-out ears – to hear the truth. The truth about the war and the truth about Jesus! Especially pray for the Russian people to hear the truth about Jesus and come to know Him.
Sometimes it too difficult to pray – I understand that! These are some ways I have been praying when my mind is too sad or tired:
PRAY JESUS OVER PICTURES – If a picture makes me sad. I whisper the name of Jesus as I am looking at it, and imagine angels running into help, and Jesus’s peace and love pouring over the picture.
SPEAK IN TONGUES – If you can speak in tongues, using the language the Holy Spirit gives us, use that. I pray in tongues when I am in the car, when I am watching TV, when I am walking or doing jobs in the house.
PRAYING WITH TEARS – Sometimes I just cry and ask Jesus to accept my tears as prayers. That’s OK.
WORSHIPPING – I try to keep worship songs on as much as I can, because that keeps my heart focused on Jesus, not on the sad, stressful things around. (And remember, in 2 Chronicles 20, God beat the enemy when His people were worshipping Him.)
I want you to remember that although what is going on in Ukraine is big and frightening, our God is bigger, and He is the Prince of Peace. Ask Him for that peace over your heart, over Ukraine, and over the people of Ukraine.