Going into 2022, some of us sensed that this would be another very challenging year. Of course, most of us hoped that we would go back to some normalcy with the pandemic mainly behind us.
However, the word I sensed the Lord gave me for 2022 was that the church needed "perseverance and faithfulness in the midst of hardship." This, of course, implied that it was going to be another challenging year.
That is now an understatement with the world on the precipice of World War III. In addition, we are seeing record inflation, which is raising prices and devaluing our money. In many regards, we are already in World War III, with major superpowers pitted against one another along with all their subset allies. The only difference is we have not yet fired direct shots upon one another. That being said, I believe in the power of prayer that can alter the destiny of nations!
Historically we have also seen how the Lord can use one person to stem the tide of war and tilt it in favor of more righteous nations. (Intercessor Rees Howell was famous for praying until he broke through in the spirit for victory during World War II in England while his nation was under attack from Germany.)
First Timothy 2:1-4 teaches us to pray for political leaders to have peace for the sake of the gospel. This shows us that prayer can alter the course of a nation and avert wars. Indeed, the Lord searches for people to stand in the gap and make up the hedge before he allows destruction to come upon a nation (Ezek. 22:30). If there were ever a time that God was looking for watchmen on the wall to pray until His will is fulfilled, it is now (Isa. 62:7).
The following are eight urgent prayer targets for the church to engage in immediately to avert global catastrophe:
1. Pray that the Ukrainian people will not lose their democratic freedom. Our hearts are broken as we look at the news and see all the civilians, including women and children, being mercilessly attacked. Whether we agree with the political and policy leanings of Ukraine or not, the truth of the matter is Russia attacked a democratically led sovereign nation. We need to pray that the Lord's will be done in this matter. In the same way God gives humanity freedom of choice to live the way they choose; God doesn't want autocratic leaders imposing their will on other people through violence or through any other means.
2. Pray that the infrastructure of Ukraine will not be obliterated. Whatever happens, we need to pray that the infrastructure of Ukraine, which includes running water, electricity, the flow of gas, highways, hospitals, schools and everything else needed to sustain a civilized society, remain intact during this invasion. During a war, the usual international rules of engagement are that civilians and vital infrastructures should not be attacked. Pray that Vladimir Putin changes course and stops attacking nonmilitary targets. If he doesn't, he will not have a stable people or a nation to rule over if he destroys the infrastructure and if he wins the war.
3. Pray that the war will not escalate to include NATO nations. We need to pray that Russia does not cross over into NATO nations. If it does, it will cause a direct conflict with the United States. Also, many are pressuring the US to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would also mean NATO pilots will engage Russian aircraft in battle, leading to World War III.
4. Pray that Putin will not go nuclear to salvage the war. Russia has stated that it has changed the rules of engagement regarding nuclear war. This opens a door for them to utilize low-grade atomic weapons to decimate Ukraine if conventional warfare is ineffective.
The use of any nuclear weapons may trigger a nuclear response from the United States. Up until now, the policy of "mutually assured destruction" has stopped the world's superpowers from engaging one another in battle. Please pray that Putin will not resort to utilizing nuclear weapons to save face because, thus far, they are losing the conventional war.
5. Pray that China will not directly aid Russia. If China gets involved militarily, it may cause an economic conflict with the USA. This will eventually lead to a physical conflagration that will pit NATO nations against Russia, China and their allies.
6. Pray that the orthodox church in Russia will not back the war. "Russian Orthodox bishop Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow, has endorsed Russian President Vladimir Putin's narrative on Ukraine in a sermon Sunday."
However, in Russia, nearly 300 Orthodox members of a group called Russian Priests for Peace signed a letter condemning the "murderous orders" carried out in Ukraine.
7. Pray that the pressure from within Russia to stop the war will prevail. Thousands of protesters in Russia are going into the streets with the demand to stop the war. This is unprecedented in a totalitarian state like Russia. Pray that this movement either topples Putin's government or forces him to withdraw from Ukraine.
8. Pray that Putin will think rationally. Some report that Putin is an egomaniac with a small inner circle who doesn't listen to other people. Other reports show that he may even be physically sick, which can explain why he is in a hurry to annex Ukraine. Whatever the case may be, we need to pray that he thinks rationally and is not driven by his ego at the expense of global peace.
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