In response to my previous posting, my long-time friend Gerd Decke, a retired pastor in Berlin, sent me a prayer he had received through a German church-relief agency from the office of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, in the western part of Ukraine. This is a historically Hungarian speaking branch of the Calvinist (Reformed) movement of the 16th century that has survived repeated changes in empire and government over the centuries. It has about 135,000 members in 103 congregations, with a bishop in Berehove, Ukraine. In the midst of their extremely difficult circumstances, this is a prayer offered by one of their pastors. The prayer was originally in Hungarian, then translated into German and now into English.
(by Rev. Zoltán Laskoti)
Stay with us through the long nights, Lord, and enlighten us with your grace!
Our candles are burned and burned out, our batteries are dead, we have no reception and no internet – we pray until darkness envelops us.
We remember the times when water reliably flowed from the tap, light lit the rooms and the heating worked and we did not wake up in constant worry.
Our lives are full of discomfort and tension, Lord. Many of us are stressed. You can see it on their faces. Some seek comfort in alcohol. Many men are in despair. Their wives live in fear. Stay with us in the long nights, Lord, find the lost and forsaken and lead them back.
Our children sit in damp, dark basements during the air raids. In our churches we light candles and warm our hands by their flames. When we sing, many have moist eyes. Our eyes and souls are tired from the strain. We often listen gullibly to the gloomy news. We are afraid of winter and the cold. Stay with us through the long nights, Lord, for winter is coming!
We wait for you, Lord, as watchmen wait for the morning, as those who sit in darkness wait for the first rays of light. We wait for you to speak, to act, to guide us.
We hope in your promises and that they lose none of their power. We trust in you.
We thank you for the families that are brought together, Lord, grant that this need will bring people closer together and not apart!
Thank you that our time is in your hands and nothing – neither mighty nor powerful – can separate us from you. In you we trust, for you give us grace and salvation.
Stay with us through the long nights, Lord, and the night will end, it will certainly end. Amen