Have mercy, Lord (12-03-22)
I wonder how many times a day your thoughts turn to Ukraine. Whether you are a ‘news junkie’, desperate for all the information you can get, or whether you struggle with the horrendous images and ration yourself to one daily update, like everyone else, your heart must go out to the people of Ukraine.
Knowing how to pray in this situation can be difficult. If that is the case the Psalms, which cover the breadth of human emotions, can help. I wonder if these words from Psalm 6, as it progresses from desperation to hope, might sum up how the Christians in Ukraine are feeling. Why not read them for the people of Ukraine, and turn them into a prayer for their deliverance?
Bible Reading: Psalms 6:2-10
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?
Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
I think we often make prayer far too complicated, putting too much emphasis on the length of the prayer and our choice of words. Yet here the Psalmist just says it as he sees it, and prays some very simple, but powerful prayers that we could adopt today.
As your thoughts today turn to the situation in Ukraine, to the refugees in neighbouring countries, to Russia or to the response of the West, allow those thoughts to turn you to prayer.
Have mercy, Lord…
Heal me, Lord…
How long, Lord???
And let us not despair. Instead, let us hold on to the promises the Psalmist held onto: ‘The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.’
For the people of Ukraine: Have mercy, Lord.
Lord, have mercy on us