I have foundered this week as I tried to contemplate the invasion of Ukraine, the danger of war, and the humanitarian crisis Ukraine and its neighbors now face. I have struggled to find words to pray. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, expressed the same struggle:
“I’m mindful of what St. Paul said in Romans, when he said, ‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray as we are, and sometimes the Spirit intercedes for us, with sighs too deep for words.’ We pray for peace, but maybe we don’t have the words. We pray for a just peace, but maybe we don’t have the words. We pray that the lives of innocents and the lives of any human child of God will be spared. We pray that our leaders will find a diplomatic way, a nonviolent way of solution. But we don’t know how to pray as we are. So, the Spirit must intercede for us at this time.”
I have been grateful for the many profound prayers that have been shared in online communities. This is a collection of prayers I have found helpful in the past week.
In addition to prayers, I encourage you, if possible, to donate to relief organizations in Ukraine as well as in countries where the more than 1 million refugees who have already fled Ukraine. These are a few organizations doing good work, all of which receive excellent ratings from Charity Navigator. Monetary donations provide the most immediate help.
Episcopal Relief & Development is mobilizing with Anglican agencies and other partners in order to provide humanitarian assistance to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine. Working through the Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance), Episcopal Relief & Development will provide cash, blankets, hygiene supplies and other needed assistance.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is working to set up emergency response activities in Ukraine and dispatching teams to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Teams are also ready to respond in Russia and Belarus.
Americares has an emergency response team on the way to Poland to support health services for families affected by the escalating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The team has expertise in coordinating large-scale shipments of medicine and relief supplies and mobilizing emergency medical teams in crisis situations.
GlobalGiving, which works with local organizations working directly in impacted communities, has established a Ukraine Relief Fund. All donations will support humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled. GlobalGiving’s local partners are bringing relief to terrified and displaced communities, and they need resources to continue their life-saving work.
World Central Kitchen has been on the ground at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland, WCK began serving hot, nourishing meals within hours of the initial invasion and are now set up at eight border crossings across the country. Additionally, WCK is supporting local restaurants preparing meals in five Ukrainian cities including in Odessa and Lviv. WCK teams are on the ground in Romania and Moldova, and arriving soon to Slovakia, and Hungary to see how we can best support.
A collect for Peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen. Book of Common Prayer, 815
In the name of the Prince of Peace,