UK churches join in national day of prayer for Ukraine

(Photo: Unsplash/Asya Tes)

Churches across the UK are joining together in prayer on Sunday for Ukraine following the invasion by Russia.

It follows a call from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to set aside this Sunday as a day of prayer for the country which is in a fierce battle against Russian troops. 

In a pastoral letter asking people to pray, Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Stephen Cottrell said they were praying for "the innocent, the frightened and those who have lost loved ones, homes, and family".

"This attack is an act of evil, imperilling as it does the relative peace and security that Europe has enjoyed for so long," they wrote. 

The Church of England has made prayer resources available online to be used in conjunction with the day.

The Church of England's Bishop in Europe, Robert Innes, has appealed to people to pray in a specially recorded message.

He also spoke of his concerns for members of Christ Church, the Church of England's congregation in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

"Our little church in Kyiv are right at the centre of this crisis," he said.

"Some of them have fled the city by car, others are still there.

"These are our people, our brothers and sisters, and of course we are very concerned for their wellbeing and safety.

"In the face of military action and aggression, we feel powerless. What can we do? One thing that we can all do is pray."

Anglican cathedrals including Peterborough, Lincoln and Ely have lit up in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, in solidarity with the country. 

The Scottish Church Leaders Forum has produced an ecumenical prayer for churches to use in their services on Sunday. 

Commending the prayer, Lord Wallace, Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly, said: "All of us have looked on in horror as Russian forces launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine in the last 24 hours.

"We urge President Putin to cease hostilities and call on all parties to agree a ceasefire and return immediately to the negotiating table.

"I would encourage all worship leaders across the Church of Scotland to consider incorporating this prayer in their services this Sunday as we continue to hold the Ukrainian people in our thoughts and send them our full support."

Living God,
Creator and giver of life to all people:
We ask that you would hear our prayer for peace amongst the nations
And for ending of conflict in Ukraine.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who shall judge between the nations:
We ask that that you would lead the nations in the paths of peace
And that the dividing wall of hostility would be broken down.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who has inspired faith across the ages:
Grant peace in the midst of war
And bring harmony to the commonwealth of nations.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Who gave his only Son that we might have life:
We ask that you would pour out your Holy Spirit
And inspire in us hope that peace will be renewed.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.