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The Wartime Prayers of Ukraine’s Evangelicals

The Wartime Prayers of Ukraine’s Evangelicals

The Ukrainian church needs support. But so do the individuals who shepherd the body of Christ. Often they are lost behind the headlines and statistics of war. Even their quotes fail to convey the full depth of their struggle.

Christianity Today asked Ukrainian evangelical leaders to help readers enter their war-torn world by sharing a glimpse of it. Each provided a Bible verse that has proven meaningful for perseverance, prayer requests for both concrete personal needs and more profound spiritual longings, and a referral to how readers can get involved.

Taras Dyatlik, engagement director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia for ScholarLeaders International:

Currently supporting a network of Ukrainian seminaries, Dyatlik has identified three stages of need. The immediate need is to evacuate, relocate, and find safe locations to save the lives of students, staff, and faculty. In another week or so, their situation must become stabilized in longer-term accommodations. And then, pending the developments of war, they will figure out how to continue theological education.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

Mark 14:27–28 – “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Sometimes we find ourselves with Jesus, not because we followed him, but because he comes to us—as now, in our brutal war with Russia. And he asks us as he asked Peter at the Sea of Galilee: “Do you love me?” (John 21:16–17). Still, this comes after breakfast, when he has taken care of us, first. Even when we fail in the challenges of this war, his friendship is available for us to revive in.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for my wife and many other wives who refused to be evacuated while their husbands stayed behind. But I am also praying that this war will shake the conscience of humanity and the theology of the church. No longer can we elevate a nationalism that so often requires others to be brought low, as we see so many Christians adopting now in Russia.

Oleksandr Geychenko, president of Odessa Theological Seminary:

United World Mission has been a decades-long partner of OTS, located on Ukraine’s western Black Sea shore. As his fellow seminary heads in other cities have turned their campuses into places of refuge, Geychenko has been trying to evacuate the school’s staff and students and provide for them as best he can.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

1 Corinthians 12:26–27 – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Last Sunday, we celebrated our monthly Lord’s Supper for the first time since the war began. The high point was in identification with the suffering of fellow believers who have loved ones in neighboring nations, still on the road searching for accommodation, or who have perished in the attacks on our many cities. But as I took the bread, I knew I was part of the body of Christ.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying through the rage of an almost tangible pain. Instead of my seminary routine, I am an emergency volunteer. Our lives have been smashed, our souls have been burnt, and there is no end in sight. For the wholeness of our country to be restored, we need God to give spiritual insight and moral clarity to the world. Then this storm can turn against the aggressors, and disperse them.

Yuriy Kulakevych, foreign affairs director of the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church:

As the largest union of charismatic churches in Ukraine, Kulakevych is part of an administration that is facilitating aid for evacuees throughout its regional networks. Warehouse managers, call center operators, accountants, cooks, and drivers represent the behind-the-scenes work that make direct physical and spiritual care possible.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

2 Corinthians 6:9–10 – Known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Despite our many troubles, we must remember that today is the day of salvation. We do not feel it, but in Christ we have enough to open wide our hearts to serve the needs of those around us.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for supernatural restoration during short nights of sleep! Everyone is doing their best—physically, mentally, and spiritually—but some, and especially the youth, need delivery from posttraumatic stress. Yet amid the darkness of war, I am praying for the evangelization of the nations in the Russian Federation, with the gospel hidden by the black robes of the Orthodox priests.

Vadym Kulynchenko, missionary with Our Legacy Ukraine:

Part of a disciple-making movement in Kamyanka, 145 miles south of Kyiv, Kulynchenko has overseen the supply of food, medicine, hygiene products, and fuel for evacuees fleeing the violence. He is also earmarking funds, in faith, for the eventual rebuilding of Ukraine.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

Mark 14:35–36 – Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

We can bring God our honest questions and struggles, and we must—so that we do not fall into the temptation to lose our peace or hate the Russians. But once we give our lives to God, we must accept and obey the answers he gives us.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for clear leading from God if I should relocate my family outside Ukraine. Our central region is safe right now, but things can change quickly. Eurasia and the Middle East are at the epicenter of God’s end times prophecies, so we need understanding for how to behave both now and in the terrible events to come.

Ruslan Maliuta, strategic networks liaison at One Hope:

Dedicated to church cooperation and Scripture distribution for children, Maliuta is also connected to ministries helping orphans and unaccompanied children to evacuate from areas of Russian assault. Originally from Kyiv, he has relocated with his family to continue serving from Western Europe.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

John 8:31–32 – Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Genuinely following Jesus makes it possible for us to discern reality. The media offers competing narratives, but this is a war, its author is Putin, and its purpose is to destroy Ukraine as a free country and break our spirit. And unless it is stopped, it will eventually continue deeper into Europe.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for the parents of my wife, who remain in Kyiv, and for wisdom that we would know how to shepherd our five sons in this very challenging season. But beyond Russia, we must pray that the lies and deception that characterize so many issues, identities, and histories will drive Christians to better discipleship in how to be the light.

Maxym Oliferovski, project leader for Multiply Ukraine:

This Mennonite Brethren mission operates the New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhia, 40 miles from the now-Russian-controlled nuclear reactor. While evacuating and resettling refugees to Eastern Europe, Oliferovski assists the Anabaptist network of local churches in southeast Ukraine as they continue to serve their communities.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

Psalm 11:5 – The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.

We see violent deaths all around us in Ukraine, and our only prayer can be for God to stop it. But we can be encouraged to know that God hates such violence also, and in time will bring his righteous judgement upon those who practice it.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for my family to endure this hardship we are going through, but with wisdom to know how to best continue serving those around us. But we are also praying for miracles, that as God meets the physical needs of people, he will also give peace to their soul, and through it all, his name will be glorified.

Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia:

With a vision to equip the next generation of evangelical church leaders in 12 countries of the former Soviet Union as well as countries with significant Russian populations, Rakhuba is currently in Moldova overseeing the crisis-driven shift to provide food, shelter, medicine, and pastoral care in three refugee hubs in Eastern Europe. And within Ukraine, he says 1,000 volunteers have been mobilized to assist those evacuating from—and staying in—the various war zones.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

It is easy to trust God when nothing is happening, but it is when we are in the middle of an evil that is sweeping all around that we must rely on God. The heart is bleeding; but as the love of Jesus shines through tragedy, we can still find hope and joy.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for strength and courage in leadership. I cannot be on the ground in Ukraine, but my staff and my friends are, some of whom are driving food to the most dangerous areas, and our center in Lutsk was shelled last night. But more than just politics, this is a spiritual attack on the church. Within the church’s very limited resources, I am praying that God will show his power and make the gospel shine.

Mykola Romaniuk, senior pastor of Irpin Bible Church:

Heading the largest Baptist church in Kyiv’s suburban “Wheaton,” Romaniuk and his congregation have been displaced by the recent Russian attack. But they continue to support both members and nonbelievers as they scatter, as well as their partner churches in the western cities of Vinnytsa and Rivne, which are hosting many evacuees.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

Ecclesiastes 3:8 – A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Now is the time for hate and war. Loving an enemy who comes with a weapon requires turning him back, and those who do not mobilize militarily must do so spiritually—in unceasing prayer. When the time of love and peace return, we will then seek to repair relations with Russian believers who admit the sin of their silence in the face of fratricide.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for my heart, identical to David’s when he was surrounded by an identical army of deceitful and evil men (Ps. 43:1). A young brother, a member of our church, was murdered on the street while helping others, as our peaceful cities suffer daily bombardment. I am praying for those stuck in the cold and the snow, and the Christian refugees, that they might find spiritual community in their relocation.

Valentin Siniy, president of Tavriski Christian Institute:

Located near the Crimean peninsula, TCI is in the port city of Kherson, which has fallen to Russian occupation. The campus is now under threat of being made into a military barracks. No longer able to provide seminary education, Siniy has switched to help with evacuations, and the provision of basic needs to churches within Ukraine’s Russian-controlled regions.

The Bible verse helping him persevere:

1 Corinthians 15:51–52 – Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

It is hard to find the right Scripture that can comfort our hearts. But I recalled this verse as I drove away from my home city, hearing behind me the rocket launchers bombing it. This war will transform us—for good—and we will never be the same.

What he’s praying for:

I am praying for my family and the emotional hell we are going through. We hardly slept last night, we got food poisoning, my sister-in-law has a bad medical condition, and we are far from the doctors and hospitals that we know. But as I see this sinful world and the kingdom of destruction, I am asking God that more people would condemn the sin of war. We need his heavenly kingdom to come and restore his original purpose for creation.

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