Blessed God, who brought our ancestors out of bondage through the Exodus, we ask that you continue to guide your people out of oppression. We pray for the men, women, and children around the world whose lives have been devastated by the social and political instability and violence that overwhelms so much of our world. From Ukraine and Russia to Myanmar, Somalia, the Democratic of Congo, Syria, Sudan, Hong Kong, China, and Korea – the list continues. Lord God, we pray that you would protect them, keeping open lines of communication so that families remain connected.

With so great a cloud of witnesses, we ask for wisdom on how to be your hands and feet upon the earth. Thank you for making us holy through the blood of our atonement lamb, Jesus Christ. Teach us how to sacrifice for the protection, integrity and honour of our brothers and sisters around the world.

God, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them close to your heart (Isaiah 40). You are the Shepherd who watches over us, who leads us beside quiet waters and makes us lie down in green pastures. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, no one can make us afraid. You are our refuge. We pray for the Ukrainian and Russian brothers and sisters. No matter where they may be forced to flee, we know that nothing – neither life nor death, angels nor demons, present nor future, height nor depth – will separate them from your love.

In this season of Lent, recommit our hearts and minds to you. Give us the courage to walk through this Holy Week with compassion and hope. In your resurrection we pray, amen.

By Shanley McConnell