Then panic struck the whole army — those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God . . . When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So on that day the LORD saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven. (1 Sam. 14:15, 22-23)
Humanly speaking, who could have believed that the Ukrainian armed forces would still retain such logistical capacity, six months and more on from Russia’s unprovoked invasion? The extraordinary speed of Ukraine’s counteroffensive has caught everyone, and primarily the Russians, off guard.
Russia is finding it acutely hard to know how to report their swingeing losses of men, material and territory, but a new note of reality is at last beginning to emerge. (The First Tank Division, for example, Russia’s primary defence of Moscow and for resisting a NATO invasion, has suffered losses it will take years to recover from.) There is genuine shock at losing towns that they had gained, and many hardliners are calling on Putin to put the nation on a war footing, and to mobilise additional resources. Tempted though Putin might be to do this, he also fears the loss of middle-class lives from St Petersburg and Moscow, as this would reflect badly on him.
Thank You Lord for the incredible courage of certain commentators who are daring to tell things as they really are to the Russian people. As long as a week ago we can see this pressure ramping up. The war is a long way from being over, despite these increasing rumbles of discontent.
As we continue to pray for the Russian forces to return by the way they came, it is important to continue instant in prayer, and remain vigilant. It is certainly right to pray that Ukraine will exercise great wisdom in knowing whether to consolidate its gains, or whether to seize the advantage and press on further. But backing down is not something Putin does, and he could yet take still more radical action.
Pray protection against revenge attacks of every kind, whether that be concerning power stations, civilian targets, nuclear plants or any other ugly scenario. Overrule in every way we pray on the eastern and southern fronts in Ukraine now we pray – especially as Russia throws everything that it has at it by way of revenge attacks.
How reminiscent this is of Hitler’s V1 and V2 rockets, which were named after the German word for revenge, Vergeltungswaffe. Praise God that these so-called ‘wonder weapons’ of mass destruction did not win him the war.
Lord, be with the many who have been wounded or bereaved in the offensive, and those who have been traumatised by the occupation but relieved to have been relieved. Lord, be with these people who are rejoicing in being newly liberated, but who bear all the scars of the losses and deprivations that they and their communities have endured.
Be with those who are still desperately praying to be relieved, and all the Russian families back home who are desperate for news of their offspring, siblings and loved ones. Thank You for all the Russian units that have refused to fight in a war they see no reason to be involved in.
Pray that the West will know how to play its part. At long last, it is supplying really advanced artillery shells now that can land a shell of enormous power to within just 2 metres of its target at a distance of 25 miles. This is making a huge difference to proceedings, despite the Ukrainians experiencing significant losses around Kherson.
The West is also on the point of sending much more sophisticated air defence systems too. But how long is has taken us to even get close to doing so! Germany, for example, has continued to be hesitant to send the advanced heavy weaponry that it had promised.
The role of the United States in all this has been crucial. It is certainly not too early to pray that whatever happens in their mid-term elections that it does not cause this vital flow to be reduced if the Republican party comes to power and takes control, not only of the house, but also of the purse for such expenditure.