As we continue to pray for peace in the Ukraine, I find it helpful to use Scripture – because this unimaginable reality is beyond words. Scripture roots us in our belief that all things are possible with God, and that in trying moments such as this, it is the power of God alone that will help us find our way.

War is never the answer to the problems we face. 

Finally, a reminder that Wednesday, March 2nd, Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis invites the entire human family to join in raising our one voice in prayer for peace. Please join us in fasting and prayer for this gift of God. 

Psalm 31 helps us hold all the people of Ukraine in our hearts, and gives us some sense of their own prayer which we wish to make our own.

Psalm 31[a]

Prayer in Distress and Thanksgiving for Escape

1. For the leader. A psalm of David.

2 In you, Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me;
3 incline your ear to me;
make haste to rescue me!
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to save me.
4 For you are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me.
5 Free me from the net they have set for me,
for you are my refuge.
6 [b]Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, Lord, God of truth.
7 You hate those who serve worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
8 I will rejoice and be glad in your mercy,
once you have seen my misery,
[and] gotten to know the distress of my soul.
9 You will not abandon me into enemy hands,
but will set my feet in a free and open space.

10 Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
affliction is wearing down my eyes,
my throat and my insides.
11 My life is worn out by sorrow,
and my years by sighing.
My strength fails in my affliction;
my bones are wearing down.
12 To all my foes I am a thing of scorn,
and especially to my neighbors
a horror to my friends.
When they see me in public,
they quickly shy away.
13 I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead;
I am like a worn-out tool.[c]
14 I hear the whispers of the crowd;
terrors are all around me.[d]
They conspire together against me;
they plot to take my life.
15 But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
16 My destiny is in your hands;
rescue me from my enemies,
from the hands of my pursuers.
17 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your mercy.
18 Do not let me be put to shame,
for I have called to you, Lord.
Put the wicked to shame;
reduce them to silence in Sheol.
19 Strike dumb their lying lips,
which speak arrogantly against the righteous
in contempt and scorn.

20 How great is your goodness, Lord,
stored up for those who fear you.
You display it for those who trust you,
in the sight of the children of Adam.
21 You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
safe from scheming enemies.
You conceal them in your tent,
away from the strife of tongues.
22 Blessed be the Lord,
marvelously he showed to me
his mercy in a fortified city.
23 Though I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your eyes.”
Yet you heard my voice, my cry for mercy,
when I pleaded with you for help.
24 Love the Lord, all you who are faithful to him.
The Lord protects the loyal,
but repays the arrogant in full.
25 Be strong and take heart,
all who hope in the Lord.

New American Bible, Revised Edition