A Ukrainian delegation arrived this morning at the border with Belarus for talks with Russia, though President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed little hope that the meeting would end the war. Mr. Zelensky is not attending the meeting but said his country would push for “an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of troops.”
This news comes as Belarus prepares to send soldiers into Ukraine to support the Russian invasion. Yesterday, Russian forces pushed into Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, but it remains under Ukrainian control. Russia is facing more resistance than it was expecting in the capital, Kyiv, which is still under Ukrainian control at this writing as well.
Meanwhile, in what the Associated Press calls “dramatically escalated East-West tensions,” President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces to be put on high alert yesterday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” from leading NATO powers. The Russian leader threatened last week to retaliate against any nation that intervened in the conflict in Ukraine, specifically raising the specter of his country’s status as a nuclear power.
Nuclear weapons are not the only catastrophic way this conflict could escalate. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned yesterday that Putin could also use “the most unsavory means,” including banned chemical or biological weapons.
“Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.”
In the face of this growing crisis, boldness is the order of the day.
A Ukrainian soldier blew himself up to destroy a bridge in an effort to stop Russian tanks from invading his country. An eighty-year-old Ukrainian man showed up to volunteer, saying he wanted to fight to protect his grandchildren. A Ukrainian couple got married on the day of the invasion and chose to spend their first days of marriage carrying rifles to defend their country.
A beauty queen and former Miss Grand Ukraine has reportedly joined the Ukrainian military. Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko has joined a territorial defense battalion. Civilians in country towns across Ukraine have joined the battle, part of what the New York Times calls “a massive grass-roots movement.”
And Ukrainian President Zelensky is setting an example of courage for his entire country to follow. Two days after the Russian invasion began, amid rumors in the Russian media that he’d fled his country, Zelensky posted a video listing the members of his senior staff beside whom he was standing in Kyiv. Then he stated, “The president is here. Our soldiers are here. Our citizens are here. We are all defending our independence—our country—and it will stay that way. Glory to the men and women defending us. Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.”
Glory to the heroes, indeed.
Seven calls to prayer changed the world
When the apostles were arrested and forbidden from preaching the gospel, they prayed: “Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29–30). As a result, “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (v. 31).
Does God still answer prayers for “boldness” and for “signs and wonders”?
Britain issued seven calls to prayer during World War II. The first was called by King George VI on March 27, 1940, as 350,000 British soldiers were trapped at Dunkirk. In what history calls “the miracle of Dunkirk,” some 330,000 men were then rescued.
The second and third National Days of Prayer came during the Battle of Britain, when Nazi air forces were defeated by the relatively small British force. Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding later testified, “I will say with absolute conviction that I can trace the intervention of God . . . Humanly speaking, victory was impossible!”
The fourth National Day of Prayer was called by the king and parliament for March 23, 1941, as Hitler was planning to invade Britain. Subsequently, a great earthquake created waves with terrific gales that blew Nazi ships eighty miles off course. The British Navy defeated the Italian fleet in the Mediterranean; Ethiopian ports were liberated; and Yugoslavian forces organized resistance to Hitler. As a result, Hitler gave up invading Britain.
The fifth National Day of Prayer was on September 3, 1942. The next day at Palermo in the Mediterranean, the entire Italian fleet was sunk.
The sixth National Day of Prayer was on September 3, 1943, the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of war. That very night, Italy surrendered to the allies and the dictator Mussolini was murdered.
The seventh and last National Day of Prayer was called by the king in the spring of 1944 prior to D-Day. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower reported later, “If there was nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an Almighty and Merciful God, the events of the next twenty-four hours did it. The greatest break in a terrible outlay of weather occurred next day and allowed that great invasion to proceed.” The resulting D-Day victory led to the end of the war in Europe.
Why has America not called for a Day of Prayer?
So far, America has not called for a National Day of Prayer in the face of the crisis with Russia. Is this because God does not answer such prayers? Adamantly not: our Lord is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Anything he has done once, he can do twice.
Is it because the crisis is not grave? Adamantly not: as we will discuss tomorrow, we are facing a nuclear-armed nation whose ultimate goal is revenge on the US and our allies.
Is it because our secularized culture no longer believes that faith is relevant or prayer is powerful? Tragically yes. But our unbelief does not change God’s omnipotence.
Please join me in praying for continued boldness for the leaders and people of Ukraine. Pray for spiritual boldness for America’s Christians to fight this battle on our knees. And pray for spiritual humility for America’s leaders to recognize our need for what only God can supply.
Philipps Brooks: “Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.” Scripture calls us: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
How near to the throne of grace are you today?
NOTE: I strive to remain unbiased when writing The Daily Article, but there are a few instances in life where my bias has no end: how perfect my grandchildren are and how impressive my wife is as a Bible study teacher and author. It’s with this undeniable bias that I suggest you pre-order my wife Janet’s latest book release, A Great Calm. The subtitle speaks to how the book will help you: Finding God’s Peace When You Need It Most. The book is estimated to ship beginning April 15. May her words bless your life—as they have long blessed mine.