Please heed this urgent word and call for prayer regarding the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. In my book Visions of the Coming Days, I wrote of the rising spirit and threat of war.
Here are some excerpts: “Historically the enemy has often incited war to stop a worldwide revival. ... In 1904 the great Welsh Revival resulted in waves of young missionaries going out into the world. In 1906 the Azusa Street Revival broke out and ignited the Pentecostal Movement, and again missions flowered. In 1914 the enemy of our soul ignited World War I and put an end to that missions thrust by neutralizing the generation drafted to fight the war.
"Once more, we stand on the cusp. Unprecedented worldwide revival is underway. Large numbers of people are coming to Jesus on every continent. The enemy would love to start a war to shut it all down before the current younger generation in the Western world can experience a revival in their own time—something they have yet to see in fullness. Prayer, not diplomacy, will head off war.”
I wrote these things in 2011, and the book was published in 2012.
In light of this, I plead that we believers not take lightly the events unfolding in Ukraine as if they were happening in some far-off place that affects us little. The impact of Russian aggression will not be confined to Ukraine.
The taking of Crimea has only been a test run. If not stopped, Putin will expand his efforts to occupy more territory formerly ruled by the Soviet empire, beginning in eastern Ukraine. He will laugh at sanctions imposed as penalties for his actions. He will ignore empty rhetoric leveled at him by Western political leaders. He does not respect diplomacy and cares even less for the welfare of people under his rule. He cares only for power and his desire to rebuild an empire lost when the Soviet Union dissolved.
While I am not equating Putin with Adolf Hitler for the level of evil he embodies, it remains clear that his justifications and methods for territorial expansion reflect Hitler’s playbook point for point and word for word. In 1938, Hitler alleged discrimination against, and danger to, ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland and used that as the justification for coercing Neville Chamberlain and the Allies into ceding that region to him.
Similarly, Putin alleges discrimination and violence against ethnic Russians in Ukraine and says that he must intervene to protect them. There have been no instances of discrimination or violence against ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Putin employs the same language and the same justifications as did Hitler before him.
After occupying the Sudetenland, Hitler sent Polish-speaking Germans into Poland to create incidents that would justify his invasion and occupation of that country. Similarly, Putin sends agitators not only into Crimea, but also into southern and eastern Ukraine who pretend to be ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. Their assignment is to stir up trouble, create incidents and claim to have been abused in order to justify Putin’s intent to intervene.
The world watched this kind of thing three-quarters of a century ago in the naïve belief that Hitler could be appeased, and then World War II broke out. I fear something similar today, although the specific dynamics and involvements would be different. I am not prophesying that this will certainly happen, but only that the danger exists. The point is that the fuse to ignite a wildfire can be so easily lit while the damage resulting from Russian aggression reaches far beyond the countries directly affected. This crisis is not just about Ukraine, and it will not stop with that nation. Much more is involved.
The Significance of Ukraine in the Kingdom of God
Seven years ago, when I first visited Ukraine as a speaker for the annual "Catch the Fire" gathering there, I prophesied that Ukraine was and is a stealth torpedo in the Lord’s arsenal that the enemy of our soul could not see coming. Ukraine has never been a world power and has never instigated a war, although it has been the victim of wars as world powers have repeatedly fought through and over its land. Who would expect anything powerful to come out of Ukraine?
Now, just as that world impact I prophesied is about to unfold, the enemy sees it and seeks to crush a growing voice before it can have the international impact God intends. Over the years, as I have ministered in Ukraine, I have seen good men and women grow into powerful leaders in the Lord. They are some of the finest and humblest Christian ministers I have encountered anywhere I’ve traveled. Already some have begun to branch out beyond the borders of Ukraine to spread the power of revival and the Good News of Jesus. This current crisis is more about the enemy of our soul seeking to mute a rising influence than it is about geopolitical struggles. At the core stand issues of the kingdom of God.
What happens in Ukraine does affect you, wherever you live. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in that nation and for the hand of God to intervene in such a way as to thwart the plans of the adversary, no matter how the geopolitical issues play out.
R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church's website.