If you would like to go straight to the prayers, each track is listed and linked below.
Click on the button above to stream all the tracks on a SoundCloud playlist.
We would invite you, however, to scroll on down to read a little more about the specific topics that each track covers. You will find another link to each track there.
Prelude to Prayer
Outcry against Savagery
Praying for Ukraine: the bread basket of the world, and for its President and leaders
Ever increasing Escalation
Praying for the friends of Ukraine to remain firm – not least America
Cyber and Information War
On the brink – Tensions with China that could explode into war
Doxology: All glory be to the Lord
An Anniversary Prayer for Ukraine
May the Lord empower you as you listen, and enable you to respond in prayer through the Holy Spirit.
Prelude to Prayer
As we approach the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, Vladimir Putin has threatened to grab the attention of the world by doing something dramatic. From the beginning of the war, he has sought to intimidate the West and deter any decisive action against him, without actually doing so. Perhaps he is crying wolf this time also – but the fact remains that the Russian ‘bear’ is equipped with very sharp teeth. It is all the more precious and important therefore that we press in to seek the Lord at this time.
What is happening in Ukraine is impacting the whole world. So much we can all see, but let’s remember that there are many unseen influences and effects at work too, from the effects of cyber warfare and the dangers of radiation, and through to influences that are overtly demonic inciting cruelty and hatred. It is not only what is evil that is at work, though, but also the unseen work of the Spirit of God, drawing many to Himself.
The music reflects the beauty of His appeal. It is based on a beautiful medieval chant I came across from the Orthodox tradition, which Justin has kindly transcribed and arranged for us. It roots deep into the love of God, and ascends into heavenly places to reflect His abundant grace toward us.
The musicians include Francis Cummings, Christiane Mueller, Corinne Frost, Jo Garcia, Nicola Gerrard and Anthony Thompson.
Outcry against Savagery
Not only has Stalin’s reputation experienced a resurgence of acceptability and admiration in modern day Russia, but Putin himself is waging war with a level of savagery that rivals that of his bloodthirsty and ruthless predecessor. Let’s pray for a rising up of voices from within Russia to cry out against the war: the power of grieving wives and mothers is perhaps still more potent than street protests. Even in this, the Holy Spirit will be at work in unseen ways.
The solo flute piece you will hear is Debussy’s Syrinx, performed for us many years ago by Elizabeth Long.
Praying for Ukraine, the bread basket of the world, and for its President and leaders
Few – and certainly not the present writer – could have foreseen the emergence of President Zelensky onto the world stage in the starring role that he has risen to. It takes an unusually gifted man to inspire and motivate both the American Congress and British Parliament to commit themselves to a distant campaign. Conscious of the need to win global support, he has also led a charge against the deep layers of corruption that have plagued the country.
There is clearly a need to pray strategically for this man and his family. He has successfully mobilised the morale of his nation and brought about a release of armaments that would certainly not have happened. Pray for his protection, good judgement and wise decision-making concerning the many pressing matters he has constantly to deal with on all fronts.
The music is the from the second movement of one of Vivaldi’s lovely oboe concertos (RV 447), and the musicians are led by Thomas and Susanne Herzog.
Some trust in (rely on) chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. LORD, give victory to the king! Answer when we call! (from Psalm 20)
Or, as The Living Bible puts it: Some nations boast of armies and of weaponry, but our boast is in the Lord our God.
Ukraine has lost huge numbers of its fighting troops and remains heavily outnumbered and outgunned. Its dedicated foe has learnt from his mistakes and the latest military push is far stronger numerically than it was a year ago. Although the Bible contains accounts of military victories won in the face of insuperable odds, we dare not make a doctrine out of an experience, however blessed. This is also a test of the West’s resolve. Our response to this escalating threat is crucial.
The verb ‘to escalate’ is a fairly modern invention, but it roots back to the Latin word for ‘ladder – scala. Back in the sixteenth century, the verb was spelled ‘escalade,’ and it meant to ‘assail a city by means of siege ladders.’ One can well understand why the West has been so cautious when it comes to taking any action that might escalate the conflict with Russia, but it is certainly besieging a nation many times smaller than its own, assailing Ukraine with considerable military weight and force. The escalation is entirely Russia’s own, and it is a hairsbreadth from here to declaring open war against the West.
Whether or not to send advanced weaponry into Ukraine is a question that tests the resolve and bravery of every nation concerned. Whilst many are proving willing, there remains huge logistical challenges, not least the fact that they are sharing what they can spare, and drawing from a pool of dwindling reserves, whilst being neither able nor willing to restock supplies at a sufficient pace to match the numbers being used and destroyed. So far as the UK is concerned, our Armed Forces have been pared to the bone in terms of both manpower and equipment.
These things can only benefit Russia, which, so far from being completely defeated by severe sanctions, is both harnessing its industrial resources to increase weapons production, and obtaining supplies from like-minded powers. How we need to seek the Lord concerning these matters!
Our prayers are accompanied by the 1st movement of Manuel de Falla’s Harpsichord Concerto, which was written just before the outbreak of the horrifyingly bloodthirsty Spanish civil war of the 1930s. It reverberates with the menace and tumult of both that time and our own – and it is for this reason we chose it, despite the fact that it is hard to listen to. Justin Coldstream is the virtuoso harpsichordist here, accompanied (with equal passion) by Nicola Gerrard, Amy Roberts, Shirley Richards, Helen Rees and Corinne Frost.
Praying for the friends of Ukraine to remain firm
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate His rule with trembling. (Ps. 2:10-11)
This war has called so much into question, and demanded answers from kings and rulers across the earth. It is so important that we continue to pray for those who have stood with Ukraine thus far, not least America: it is so easy for nations to backtrack on their commitments. The present administration in Washington has shown itself a faithful friend of Ukraine, and a supporter of NATO, but temptations are sure to come to weaken and reduce its commitment.
It is also a strategic time to pray for Israel, especially in regard to its relationships with Ukraine and Russia. Israel’s support for Ukraine has taken the form of humanitarian aid and the reception of refugees. Its reluctance to be more upfront in terms of military support is well established, and this is a matter that requires consideration and prayer.
Unique in its history as the chosen people and land of God, and unique in its eschatological role as the place to which the Lord Jesus will return to rule on Earth, the in-between time remains fraught and complex for Israel – and all the more so since the most right-wing government in the nation’s short (modern) history is now in power, and appears to be in danger of riding roughshod over important checks and balances.
Israel does not have a formal constitution, and is effectively overseen by the Supreme Court. But the new government, under Netanyahu’s leadership if proposing changes that would allow it to overrule the both the judiciary and the Supreme Court.
Senior leaders in Israel are deeply concerned, and many democratic nations will find such fundamental changes extremely disturbing, since they will leave Israel seriously out of sync with the West’s perception of it as a democracy.
Because Israel does not have have a formal constitution, the Supreme Court has effectively been acting as the constitution – but its decisions now stand to be a overruled by concentrating too much authority into the hands of leaders who are not universally trusted. The concern is that democracy without checks and balances is not democracy.
Pray for Israel
‘A land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.’ (Deut 11:12)
Yeshua, we ask You to over-rule all that is happening in Your deeply troubled land at this time, the land Your Father watches over. Bring many to faith in You, we pray, and fulfil Your purposes in preparation and readiness for the day on which You return.
Israel’s support for Ukraine has taken the form of humanitarian aid as well as in receiving numbers of refugees. Its reluctance to be more upfront in terms of military support is well known and requires consideration and prayer. Pray for the land of Israel, and for all who dwell there.
People in Israel long for peace – if only they knew that they were longing for Emmanuel – but wariness between Israelis and Palestinians are running at dangerously high levels. There are no simple solutions here but it’s obviously important to pray for appropriate sure footedness in high places, as opposed to steps that can only reinforce the constant and continuing rise of anti-semitism among the nations.
You may like to follow up these additional links, which we hope will bless you, and help us to move beyond the geopolitical considerations in our prayerful concern for Israel:
Firstly, this prayer that Ros and I prayed in a ‘live’ recording many years ago: ‘You yearn for the land you set your heart upon as for a first-born child’.
And then this performance of The Blessing in Hebrew from Jerusalem, accompanied by the lovely sound of the King’s Harpists.
Let’s pray for God’s purposes to be fully fulfilled in this much contested land that the Scriptures have so much to say about. May you be blessed as you share in this Hebrew blessing, and pray for all the varied people who live there.
The music for this track is taken from Song of the Wind, and you will hear, amongst many others, Nicola Gerrard on flute and Beth Davies on bassoon.
Cyber and Information War
There are many unseen threats in our times. We have often asked for prayer to protect the world global network against either physical or cyber attack. An example from a dramatic example from the code breaking operations during the Second World War serves as an incentive to renew our prayers in this sphere.
There are many other threats, of course, which are ultimately self-inflicted, but which also serve to curtail the frontiers of free speech, and with them to threaten our very freedom to preach the whole gospel.
This important section is accompanied by a powerful improvisation that Peter Richards played on his French horn.
On the Brink – Tensions with China that could explode into war
The whole world is watching with concern as Sino-American tensions ramp up to a dangerously high level. Beyond mutual trade reprisals, the matter of Taiwan, and new US bases in the Philippines are among the bones of contention. It would not take much to tip the simmering hostilities over into a full-blown war between the two superpowers.
There are many ways in which both the conflict in Ukraine and with China could escalate into full-blown war,as this prophecy from Norway in 1968 makes clear.
As Paul put it in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8), ‘You know what is holding [the man of lawlessness] back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendour of His coming.’ (NLT)
Or as John foresaw, ‘Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.’ (Rev. 6:4)
The tension extends beyond trade wars to embrace Taiwan and the new US bases in the Philippines, as well as the serious matter of the spy balloon over America, which is theoretically capable of releasing not only hypersonic missiles, but even truly deadly nuclear weapons in an almost undetectable first strike.
Pray for the Lord’s mercy and restraint what is happening in China, the Philippines and in Taiwan, and for God’s grand scheme of preparing the way for His glorious return to continue apace. May many in those countries who love and serve Jesus faithfully rise up in love, embracing their role as priests in God’s righteous Kingdom.
D’ror Yikra, the powerful music that accompanies this piece, is named from a song by a Jewish poet who lived in 10th century Spain. The words are ‘a plea to God to protect Israel and bring about its peace and redemption.’
Geth Griffith made the arrangement for us, which is played for us here by Geth Griffith, David Booth, Teresa Brasier, Keith and Linda Entwistle, Anna Fraser, Nicola Gerrard, Mike Halliday, Fontane Liang and Anthony Thompson.
Doxology: All glory to the Lord
As we round off this prayer presentation with this simple offering of praise, the music of our opening piece returns. It is exquisitely complemented by the beautiful trumpet obligato part that Anthony improvised around this beautiful mediaeval Orthodox chant.
The musicians were Francis Cummings, Christiane Max, Corinne Frost, Jo Garcia, Nicola Gerrard and Anthony Thompson. A huge thank you all the musicians who played at the various events which made these recordings.
Banner Image: Photo by Sebbi Strauch on Unsplash
Prelude: Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash
Savagery: Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash
Bread Basket: Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash
Escalation: Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash
Praying for the friends of Ukraine: Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash
Cyber and Information War: Photo by Anton Maksimov 5642.su on Unsplash
On the brink: Photo by Ybrayym Esenov on Unsplash
Doxology: Photo by Elliott Engelmann on Unsplash