Christians and Jews in Ukraine pray together for God’s protection
A video published by the Ukrainian Bible Society shows people in prayer for the country. Some have sought refuge in basements and bomb shelters, while others are outdoors and in residential buildings, Norwegian newspaper Dagen reports, based on the website Eternity News.
Psalm 31 is a prayer for God’s protection in times of persecution. Jesus’ last words before His death, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” is also taken from the Psalm.
The joint prayer followed a call from Ukrainian chief rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich. “The Chief Rabbi unexpectedly invited all us Christians and all Ukrainians to read Psalm 31 during these difficult times,” says Anatoliy Raychynets, the Deputy General Secretary for the Bible Society in Ukraine, to Eternity News.
“For me, as a pastor, that Psalm, well, I read it differently now because it’s about our current situation in Ukraine. This ancient prayer –written several thousand years ago– now we see is so alive, is living,” Raychynets said on the eve of the Russian invasion.
Raychynets explains how encouraging it is to see that the Bible’s verses are “not just written words” but active and applicable to real-life now. “It’s a ‘living word’, as a lady said to me last week in the St. Sophia Cathedral,” he says.
He shares the story of an older woman who approached him after a prayer meeting and told him she had been praying Psalm 31. “It is living words!’ she said Raychynets, going on to report that after reading the Psalm, she had experienced a deep sense of comfort and calm.
The country’s church leaders have united in prayer even before the outbreak of war. On 16 February, they gathered in St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv, dating from 1011, when Kievan Rus –the Kingdom of Kiev– was founded as a Christian nation.