“Pray for peace.” This has been the unified plea of Ukrainian and Russian Baptists since tensions began to escalate between their two countries earlier this year.
As war has unfolded with indescribable destruction and loss, the global Baptist family has joined together to lift up our suffering brothers and sisters. Prayer, along with humanitarian aid, advocacy, and pastoral encouragement, is a central part of the Baptist World Alliance response to the crisis in Eastern Europe.
Within days after the outbreak of war, the BWA held a virtual “Standing Together” Global Prayer Gathering on February 28 that drew participants from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Malawi, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, Taiwan, United States, Uruguay, and more. The worldwide event included firsthand testimony from Igor Bandura, Vice President of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists and a BWA General Council Member, about the conditions in Ukraine as well as the Baptist humanitarian response.
BWA Vice Presidents offered prayers for union leaders, pastors, seminaries, aid and relief, mission and evangelism, women and children, refugees, and global unity. BWA First Vice President Karl Johnson of Jamaica spoke this prayer for Ukrainian Baptist leaders:
“Grant them, O God, as they offer leadership, as they coordinate, as they inspire, as they strategize, as they plan, grant them discernment, grant them clarity, and grant them courage. Create in them, O Lord, a calm and preserving spirit as they point the hurt, the hopeless, the angry, the anxious to you. As they point them to you, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations.”
The BWA also had the opportunity to engage in prayer and advocacy for Ukraine at the United Nations. On March 3, BWA leadership participated in a multi-faith prayer meeting entitled “Global Prayers for Ukraine: A Multi-Faith Service for Peace and Freedom in a Hurting World” at the United Nations Church Center Chapel in New York City, NY, USA.