Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.
Tearfund have a guide to praying for Ukraine. When faced with a crisis like the conflict in Ukraine, it can be hard to know how to pray. But the desire to pray itself is a great place to start. This guide is divided into two sections: the first giving you suggestions about what to pray for, and the second providing different creative prayer ideas for you and your church, group or family to use.
This is an Interactive Prayer Stations for All Ages from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots. These interactive Prayer Stations are designed for all ages, & are ideal for intergenerational worship, or to be left in churches to be explored throughout the week. They’re also ideal for school prayer spaces, particularly for children 8yrs + & high school students, but can also be used for youth groups or house groups to explore. The Prayer Stations follow 6 simple themes.
This Colour in Sunflower Prayer for Ukraine offers a reflective activity for all ages. Ideal for churches, schools, kids groups or to use at home. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, so in recognition of this, & to pray for the people & their homeland, each petal on this sunflower reflects a group of people currently facing the horrific situation there. As you colour the sunflower, you can pray for the people remembered in each section.
Create a prayerful art installation in your church with these Prayer Doves for Peace. Ideal for all ages to creatively pray for our world, these doves offer a simple prayer activity that the whole community can partake in. With so many issues & conflicts affecting our world, especially the situation in the Ukraine, many people are seeking spaces to pray for peace. Prayerful activities like these Doves for Peace, offer children & adults space to creatively express their prayers. Whether they write, draw or paint their prayer on the doves, each one is from the heart, each is valued, & each a prayerful offering to God. Once gathered together, the prayers can be displayed to create a flight of peace doves in your church, & used as a focal point for future prayers.
Here’s a simple tactile prayer activity for all ages & stages to pray for the people of Ukraine. These Yarn Wrap Peace Dove are designed for children, but could be used as a reflective prayer activity for adults too. Use them as a prayer prompt to have at home, or hang them in trees around your neighbourhood.
Visit the Muddy Church website for some really simple ideas which use every day things to help think and pray about Ukraine.
Flame Creative have produced a beautiful colouring sheet with the Archbishop’s prayer for Ukraine.
Prayer Spaces in Schools have developed 6 prayer activities to help children and young people pray. These activities can be used at home, in your families, or in youth groups and schools and can be accessed on their website.
Resources to help children understand what is going on in the world
The National Youth Agency (NYA) have set up a page about the Ukraine Crisis and signpost to resources for youth workers and young people here. These resources include BBC Newsround contributions about ‘History of the conflict of Russia and Ukraine explained’ and ‘War in Ukraine – what do all the words mean?’ and resources from the British Red Cross, Save the Children, UNICEF and Barnardo’s about how to talk to children about war, children in Ukraine and refugee and migrant children. Additionally, resources are available to help children and young people who are upset or worried about the news: please see these resources from Newsround – Advice if you are upset by the news, and Childline – Worries about the world.
With words such as ‘nuclear’, ‘NATO’, ‘mass evacuation’ and others becoming part of the daily narrative, some children and young people may be experiencing worry and/or anxiety. So it’s really important that we continue to create space to listen as they talk. If you’re looking for some useful resources to help at this time as you create space for children and young people to talk, take a look at Scripture Union’s Mental Health Suite. There you’ll find a range of resources specifically created to help you, as you delve into conversations with children and young people as they talk about how they feel. And remember, even as adults, we don’t need to have the answers but we can trust in the One who does. In addition the Young minds website also has some excellent top tips for talking to young people about the events in Ukraine.
Other useful Resources
The Save the Children’s website has useful resources for all ages.
This Kitchen Table Project article points to a whole range of other useful places.
Rachel Turner (from BRF) has recently published this book: Comfort in Uncertain Times . It is a very useful resource for the times we are in. Uncertainty and change can be hard, and even more so for a child. Feelings of confusion, powerlessness and insecurity may be overwhelming. Scripture is full of people just like our children who had to cope with uncertainty and transition and flourished as they saw God’s hand and presence within it all. Designed as a series of stories and discussions for families, this book lays a Biblical foundation for who God is in uncertain times and how to stay connected to him.
Here is the laureate’s poem about the invasion of Ukraine, written in solidarity with those under fire:
It’s war again: a family
carries its family out of a pranged house
under a burning thatch.
The next scene smacks
of archive newsreel: platforms and trains
(never again, never again),
over heads and shoulders, lifetimes stowed
in luggage racks.
It’s war again: unmistakable smoke
on the near horizon mistaken
for thick fog. Fingers crossed.
An old blue tractor
tows an armoured tank
into no-man’s land.
It’s the ceasefire hour: godspeed the columns
of winter coats and fur-lined hoods,
the high-wire walk
over buckled bridges
managing cases and bags,
balancing west and east – godspeed.
It’s war again: the woman in black
gives sunflower seeds to the soldier, insists
his marrow will nourish
the national flower. In dreams
let bullets be birds, let cluster bombs
burst into flocks.
False news is news
with the pity
edited out. It’s war again:
an air-raid siren can’t fully mute
the cathedral bells –
let’s call that hope.