Zelensky’s prayerlist

By Jeff Fountain |
Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky led his nation in prayer for Ukraine from the St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv in a pre-recorded video.
Easter, 2022, two months after the Russian invasion began, Volodymyr Zelensky led his nation in prayer for Ukraine from the St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv in a pre-recorded video.

Two years later, his prayerlist remains a highly relevant and concise guide for us as we pray for justice, peace and freedom.

The president stood symbolically in the cathedral founded a thousand years ago on the site of a historic battle, a survivor of numerous previous invasions. From his memorised script, he spoke out this prayer:

Today, we have faith in a new victory for Ukraine. We have faith that, once again, we will not be destroyed by any invading evil. We are enduring dark times. Although today is a day of light, most of us are not wearing colourful clothes. But we are fighting for light. We are fighting for the truth. And in that, God and the light of heaven are on our side. 

Above (on the cathedral walls) are words from the Psalms. ‘God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.’

Today, we all believe that our dawn is coming soon. And for the last two months we have all been praying. The Resurrection of Christ symbolises the victory of life over death. And today, each of us prays for the same thing.


We ask God to save Ukraine. 

Protect those who protect us: our military, our national guard, our border guards, our territorial defence, our intelligence services. Save them, our warriors of light.

Help those who help them: our volunteers and anyone who cares for Ukraine, from here and around the world. 

Save the lives of those who save the lives of others: our medics, our firefighters, our rescuers, our sappers. 

Let life be not only a symbol of Easter. Let life win the battle against death every day of the year.

Look after our mothers. Give endurance to those who are waiting for a son or daughter to return from the war. Give fortitude to those who have lost children on the front line. Give strength to those who have lost children in the peaceful cities and villages to which Russia has brought death.

Grant health to our grandmothers for many more years. Grant them the chance to see their loved ones again. To see peace and victory. To see justice. And to see the happy old age that the invaders are trying to steal from them. For today, instead ot knitting scarves and jumpers for their grandchildren, they weave camouflage nets.

Protect our fathers and our grandfathers. The men who once told their grandchildren about the last was, and now send them to the new one. The men who built this country, and today are seeing it destroyed. Let them see our land liberated and rebuilt, and give us the strength to rebuild it.

Take care of our children. Give every boy and every girl a happy childhood, adulthood and old age – a life long enough to rid themselves of their terrible youthful memories of war. The terrifying games they have been forced to play have no place in a child’s life. Hide-and-seek, except they hide from bombs. Running not around a playground, but to shelter from gunshots. Travelling across the country, not to a holiday site but from their destroyed homes. 

Save all Ukrainians, We did not attack anyone, so defend us. We have never destroyed another nation, so do not let anyone destroy us. We have never seized another people’s land, so do not let anyone seize ours.

And save Ukraine. Save us on the right and left banks of the Dnieper. For when winter ended, spring did not come. The frost of winter came to out homes, and at dawn we were brought nothing but darkness.

God, we know that you will not forget the actions of those who have ignored your commandments.

We know you will not forget about the atrocities in Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka, Hostomel. And we also know that you will not forget those who survived these brutal crimes. Bring joy to them and all the people of Ukraine. 

We know you will not forget about the noise of the bombs that fell on Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Sumy, Kharkiv, Izyum, Kramatorsk and Volnovakha, Popasna.  Let these cities instead hear the sound of Ukraine as victor.

We know you will not forget about Mariupol and its heroic defenders. The invaders might destroy the city’s walls, but they cannot destroy its foundations, the morale of our warriors; the morale of the whole. country. 

Today, we see terrible images of war. But let us soon see a happy picture of peace.

Today, we are going through the hardest of trials. But let it soon reach the just verdict, the return of life, happiness and prosperity to Ukraine.

Today, our hearts are full of fierce fury and our souls overflow with hatred for the invaders. But do not let this fury destroy us from within. Turn it into victories without. Transform our rage into a force with which to defeat evil.

Save us from strife and from division. Do not let us lose our unity.

Strengthen our will and our spirit. Do not let us lose ourselves. Do not let us lose our longing for freedom. And do not let us lose our passion for this righteous struggle. Do not let us lose our hope of victory, our self-esteem, our freedom.

Do not let us lose our Ukraine. Do not let us lose our faith.


Ukrainians, last year we celebrated Easter at home because of the pandemic. This year, once again, we are unable to celebrate the Resurrection as we used to. We are afflicted now by another virus: the plague of war.

But know that last year’s illness and this one’s are united by one truth: that nothing can defeat Ukraine. And so this great holiday gives us hope. It offers us faith that light will overcome darkness, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death. And it offers us faith that Ukraine will win.

Can you think of any other current world leader who could lead his or her nation in such a prayer?

Weekly Word is an initiative of The Schuman Centre for European Studies. Jeff Fountain is a New Zealander holding a Dutch passport, is currently the director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies (www.schumancentre.eu), and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Jeff graduated with a history degree from the University of Auckland (1972) and worked as a journalist on the New Zealand Herald (1972-3), and as travelling secretary for Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship (TSCF) (1973). He has lived in the Netherlands since 1975, and has travelled and spoken in almost every European country. For twenty years following the fall of communism, he was the European director for the international and interdenominational mission organisation, Youth With A Mission. He was chairman of the international, trans-denominational movement, Hope for Europe, for which he organised two pan-European congresses in Budapest in 2002 and 2011. In 2010, he established the Schuman Centre for European Studies (www.schumancentre.eu) to promote biblical perspectives on Europe’s past, present and future, to encourage effective engagement in issues facing Europe today.

The views expressed in this or any other opinion article do not necessarily reflect the views of Christian Daily International.