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My heart is in anguish within me,
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.

Psalm 55:4-5 NRSV

As we witness the destruction of Ukrainian cities and the continual bombings of residential buildings, hospitals, and schools as well as attacks on a power plant, nuclear waste site, and gas pipeline, we again pray with the world community for peace and an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

This week we saw the bombing a theater where over 1,000 women, children, and seniors were sheltering with “children” painted on the pavement on both sides of the building. Many of their fates are still unknown as the search continues for survivors. Acts that deliberately target civilians and use disproportionate force are war crimes. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has announced that an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion is forthcoming and European nations have volunteered to document the instances and collect the evidence.

With this week’s tragedies in mind, let us pray.

Almighty and Eternal God,

We hang our heads in overwhelming sorrow while witnessing the massive number of deaths in Ukraine and the destruction of its cities.

We deeply mourn these deaths, especially the children who have lost their young lives filled with promise.

Be present with all who weep and cry out in anguish.

With your divine presence, Lord, bring an end to this war by Russia.

Move Russia’s leaders to stop the bombardment of Ukraine and the killing of its people.

Give wisdom to world leaders about the most effective ways to intervene and dissipate the harm being caused.

Fill the people of Ukraine with hope and fortitude that peace will prevail and their freedom will endure.