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“At this moment the world is in crisis.” (Eugene Peterson’s rendering of John 12:31 in The Message)

I have so often found that it is while I am away on retreat that something of major international significance crops up that requires focused prayer. I was out of touch with the news while I was in Majorca, but Sheena kept me informed about the situation in Ukraine. The Lord had given her a very strong burden to pray for Russia, with a real sense that if this situation is handled badly it could lead to immensely serious consequences.

Once again I found the balcony of the apartment overlooking the approaches to Palma harbour a prophetic “funnel” for praying down the length of the Mediterranean to Israel, Syria and beyond to Ukraine and Russia.

If you have managed to get round to reading the articles I have been producing in the last few editions about the situation in Ukraine, you will know my concern about how the EU “bribed” Ukraine to throw in their lot with the West, with insufficient thought to the effect this would have on a personality such as Putin’s. He has been revelling in the ‘success’ of having Crimea back under Russian control, and has been carrying out extensive military preparations involving every aspect of the newly rearmed Russian armed forces. Cf Russian aircraft carrier in the Channel.

The situation remains ultra volatile, and extremely challenging for the interim government in Kiev to handle. As you know, Russia has been branding it a party of nationalists and Fascists. The reality is that Ukraine does indeed have a popular ultra nationalistic party: Pravy Sektor.

If your French is up to it (or you can locate the sous titres – subtitles) I would highly recommend this programme in which two French journalists spend a fortnight with the ultra nationalists. This takes you right into the heart of what is going on in Ukraine, and how the government is trying to disarm the ultra nationalists who have been carrying out a programme of lustration (intimidatory purification) against those who supported l’ancien regime.

At a packed midweek prayer meeting of the Iglesia Christiana which I became involved with last summer in Palma, I had an enormous sense of being joined in Spirit with the Christians in Ukraine. As always the challenge was to get people praying and looking wider than their own borders! The message of Carol’s song Peace be Still so needs to be heard throughout the continent – may there be many who hear and heed it.