What Do You Do When the Bomb Shelter Is Closed?
Before Michael left Ukraine, he met with a group of 30 local pastors. These courageous men are risking their lives to meet the needs of people—not just in their churches, but in their communities as well. He heard so many heartbreaking stories…looters breaking into homes and stealing everything…bodies still under the rubble of collapsed buildings…farmers having their animals stolen or shot…it goes on and on. Together we are helping the people of Ukraine in a powerful way in a time of great need. On behalf of the thousands who are being helped by generous friends like you, thank you to everyone who has made this outreach possible.
Michael stayed overnight in Kharkiv in far eastern Ukraine. Though the front lines of the battle have moved away from the city, it is still being targeted. During the night, Michael was awakened more than once by warning sirens and explosions. Russia continues to increase their attacks on civilian targets. Despite the danger, Michael took food and gifts to a number of precious children there. Please continue to pray for him and our whole team as they deliver life-saving food and supplies to hurting people in Ukraine.
Prayer is as essential as air and water if we are to maintain a spiritual life of constant contact with God. If we don’t make that connection, no matter how sincere our intentions, we will not see a change in the circumstances of our life. We must pray! James 4:2 tells us: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask” (emphasis mine).
During a dark hour of Israel’s history, the Assyrians demanded heavy tribute from King Hezekiah. In response, Hezekiah stripped the temple of its gold and silver in order to meet that demand. Still, that was not enough; the Assyrians mounted an attack against the city. When King Hezekiah was informed in a letter from the king of Assyria that Israel would be destroyed if the demands were not met, he took the letter to the temple. There, in the presence of God, he spread the letter on the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone” (2 Kings 19:15–16, 19).
God answered the king’s prayer with an overwhelming victory! The Bible says the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. In great gratitude for God’s mercy, Hezekiah cleansed, repaired, and reopened the temple of God. Worship to Jehovah was restored, daily sacrifices were resumed, and the Passover Feast was again celebrated by the nation of Israel.
Years earlier, when King Solomon had prayed at the dedication of the temple, God revealed himself and His plan to Solomon with great power: Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:12–16).
Isaiah encouraged the Israelites with: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9). King Solomon prophesied that a national revival would come to Israel. It has yet to occur, but when that renewal does come, it will certainly be through the power of prayer. You and I can help usher in that renewal through prayer.
Michael just sent back a report from Ukraine about his latest trip. Russia launched some of the most intense artillery attacks since the first week of the war while he has been there. He is in the Donetsk region, very near the front lines of the fighting. He told us that he has been spending extra time with the children he meets. As he has talked to them and prayed with them, he has seen firsthand the horrible toll of the grinding war on these precious little ones. Because of the love and generosity of our friends and partners, he has been able to tell them someone cares…and show them by delivering vital food and other supplies.