Praying for rescue!

How do we stand with Ukrainians and pray for their deliverance? Biblical pointers and a sample biblical prayer.

Praying for rescue!
Steelworks site, Mariupol. Image copyright: The Telegraph

My thoughts and prayers keep turning back to the people trapped under Russian siege in the last remaining part of Mariupol.

Hundreds of bodies in mass graves and supposed offers of surrender don’t sit together — so resistance and rescue are the only viable options.

The fate of Mariupol is prominent in news reports, but it isn’t the only place which is under siege — it stands as a stark symbol of the courageous resistance of people of that city against the evident, objective wickedness of the invaders.

Truth to be guided by

'Rescue' is a prominent theme in the Bible. It could be a one-word headline to what the Bible is all about — to what God is all about in setting out His plan of salvation.

To pray for people to be rescued must resonate with God, who is always about His work of rescue, deliverance and salvation.

To pray for people under siege and bombardment to be rescued — especially civilians, mostly women and children — puts our intercession in the context of several well-known scripture passages.

Hope in the Lord and keep His way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but He soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for Him, He could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers (or RESCUES) them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him. Psalm 37:34-40 NIV

In life, we observe that cruel and wicked people succeed — for a time. Dictators are able to rule countries harshly, and breaking agreements transgressing borders to try to extend the reach of their rule by force.

What the Bible promises is their downfall, in God’s time, and history bears this out. History also records the costs in human lives and suffering until that downfall happens.

We can pray with confidence for all those involved in defending their own country against those who want to take it from them, by what the Bible calls wickedness.

A rescue prayer

Based on the above, this is the 'rescue prayer' that comes to me today:

Lord God, as we come to You through Jesus, in Your goodness and mercy hear our humble prayer:

We are standing with people of a different culture and language, in another part of the world, who are suffering invasion, and being terrorised by cruelty, bombardment and deprivation. You are a God of justice and we appeal to you against these injustices.

We want people in Ukraine, especially those sheltering from missile and artillery strikes, to know that they are not alone, not abandoned and not beyond reach.

In the words of the psalmist, we join with them to appeal to You: "Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me." Psalm 31:2 NIV

We declare truth from Your word that "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He RESCUES them." Psalm 34:7

We cry out to You, Lord, to go beyond what is humanly possible as You do: may munitions miss their targets and fail to explode, and may invading tanks and batteries and all the vehicles of war become bogged down, broken down and taken down. May invading forces fail in confusion with orders disobeyed and spontaneous surrenders occurring.

May the United Nations find a voice, and national leaders in Europe and beyond agree in the cause of what is right and just.

Jesus, King of kings, be glorified as we pray Your kingdom rule and your loving will to come to prevail over man's lawless rebellion, violence and war — a war against all that is true and right as well as sovereign territory.

As we pray in Your name we ask You to take this plea and intercede for us by the Father's side. That He may be glorified! Amen.

April 25, 2022