PRAYER ALERT: On August 17 the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Berlin. It was the first in a series of Ukraine peace talks. They did not negotiate a cease-fire, as was hoped. Ukraine is too successful in its current campaign of taking back the key cities of Donetsk and Luhansk to stop now.
However, they did agree on a critical point. Russia’s convoy of 270 trucks of humanitarian aid—once suspected of carrying weapons—will be allowed to enter Ukraine. The Red Cross is charged with distributing this aid. It is now seeking security guarantees from both sides. This is understandable in a war zone. A humanitarian convoy moving refugees was struck by rocket fire on August 18. At least 17 were killed. The Ukrainian government and the rebels are trading allegations of blame.
But that hasn’t stopped further plans for Ukraine peace talks. On August 24 Ukrainian President Petro Porshenko will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Kiev. Germany’s foreign minister has already said that a direct Ukrainian-Russian armed conflict “must be avoided at all costs.” On August 26 Poroschenko will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus. A week before, Poroschenko and Putin met separately with Finland’s President Sauli Niinsto. Niinsto may be playing the role of an intermediary to the Ukraine peace talks.
Also at the August 26 Ukraine peace talks will be top representatives of the EU, Belarus and Kazakhstan. They all have a stake in keeping the Ukrainian civil war from spreading. Already there are at least 2119 dead and 5043 injured. Hundreds of thousands lack water and electricity. At least 188,000 have escaped to Russia and 155,800 people are internally displaced.
Those remaining in the contested cities of Donetsk and Luhansk face attacks every day. But there was one hopeful sign in the region of Donetsk. A rocket smashed through the window of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. It failed to explode. Instead it buried its head in the ground, right in front of an icon of Christ Pantocrator (“All-Powerful”). The rocket remained bowing at the feet of Jesus, to the praise of the local congregation.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, we thank You for so loving this world that You sent us Your Son. He is the Desire of the nations. One day all knees will bow and tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of the earth. All weapons too will bow before Him too. Thank you for giving us a sign of that, in the Orthodox Church in Donetsk. Lord Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. We ask You to enter into the Ukraine peace talks now.
The nations fear that war will spread. But You make wars to cease to the ends of the earth. Show them Your ways of making war cease. Show them how to make common cause in resisting militant Islam. Lead them to right relationships with one another. Raise up prophetic voices with solutions. Release aid to the hurting. Be a comfort to the grieving. Find homes for the homeless. Be the bridge between East and West. Show that You are Lord, and that You deserve to be the Lord of everyone involved in this crisis. And work it toward Your good purposes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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