If like me you are struggling to know what and how to pray in light of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, join me in echoing the words of 1 Clement, a first century Christian text (written c.96 AD.) This short prayer helps us pray for our brothers and sisters in distress, calls upon God to care for those in pain and need, and asks that He might make Himself known to the nations.
This prayer is not perfect, but I am reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Rome. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26.) We have a God who in His Spirit equips us to come to Him in prayer, even when we do not quite know how to communicate what we want to.
“We ask you, Lord, be our helper and defender. Rescue those of our number in distress; raise up the fallen; assist the needy; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who stray; feed the hungry; release those of us who are captives; raise up those who are weak; encourage those who lose heart. Let all the nations realise that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Son, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.”
1 Clement 59.4.