Common Prayer in Time of War
Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus,
The world is reeling from the news of war in Europe. In such times, followers of Jesus pray. While, by God’s grace, our own country is not suffering as are the people of Ukraine, nevertheless, we intercede for them in prayer to our Lord. To intercede is to stand in the shoes of those for whom we pray—to pray as if their concerns were our concerns. To that end, I offer you the following prayer and invite you to pray for Ukraine, for Russia, and for our own country. The language is archaic, yet conveys the relevant concerns well. (See also Psalms 3, 7, 10, 37.)
The Lord be with you.
“Common Prayer in Time of War”
from Seed Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians
– Rev. Wilhelm Loehe (1846), trans. by H.A. Weller (1912)
Almighty and gracious God, Who didst cause the light to shine and bringest peace, Who stillest the roarings of the deep, the noise of its waters and the unrest of the nations, Who makest wars to cease unto the ends of the earth, destroyest the bow, breakest the spear asunder, and burnest the chariots with fire, we beseech Thee, O very God of peace, so to rule and govern the hearts of them that bear rule over us, that, in Christian unity one with another, they may follow after peace; that the church, the schools, and all government be preserved in prosperity, and we may serve Thee all our days in pure knowledge and holy lives without fear.
Preserve us from war, sedition, and bloodshed. Defend us against every counsel of evil men who follow not after the ways of peace, but always go about pregnant with disaster, destruction and harm. Cause their machinations to be confounded, their disasters to come upon their own heads, and their mockery to come upon their own shoulders. Disperse the nations that love to war, and grant us peace from all our enemies; that each may dwell under his own vine and fig-tree without fear, and none may rise up against us. Fasten Thou the bars upon our gates and let no fear come upon them that bear rule in the land.
O God of Peace, give peace within our borders. Always and everywhere grant peace to our country, that we may rest in safety, with none to make us afraid. Grant us grace that the dissensions and bitternesses which have arisen be again stilled through peaceable means and orderly counsels. Our country trembles, and all who dwell therein. Lord, uphold Thou her pillars. Awake and send us saviors who whall help and save us that we may dwell in our homes as before. Hear us in the day of our great need, and let Thy holy Name be our defense. Send us help speedily from out of Thy sanctuary; and from Thy sacred dwelling-place strengthen Thou us. Let honor abide in our land and all her cities; that loyalty and goodness may kiss each other; that fidelity increase in the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven.
Arise, Lord, to judge; and help all the oppressed and miserable of the earth. Arise and help us with Thy good right hand. Do good unto the nations among whom Thy Word dwelleth, and let not the vineyard Thou hast planted among us be destroyed. O Lord, abide with us, the day is far spent, the evening is at hand. Strengthen Thy kingdom which Thou hast established among us, and preserve us and all posterity in the true faith. Have mercy upon us, O God. Help us in every need. Let Thy mercy be upon us as our trust is in Thee. Graciously grant us these our sincere petitions, O Merciful and Gracious God, for the sake of the precious merits of Thine only-begotten, well-beloved Son, the Prince of Peace, Who, in unity with the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth with Thee, true God, glorified forevermore. Amen.