Take away from me, O Lord, every destructive pride and give a prudent countenance to my eyes; set a bridle on my tongue, make my ears obedient to Thy Holy Commandments, provide me with patience in afflictions, make my heart wise and strong in forbearance, in goodness, in restraint, in sympathy, in charity, in love, in humility, in peace toward myself and all others, and in rejecting the indolence and slothfulness of the demons in which I once indulged as if they were mere confections.
Grant me the gift of seasoned discretion to be able to discern which thoughts and whose judgments to prefer. Grant me also the ability to discern the machinations of the devil and to reject them and him. And may I cut off altogether my own will so that I may rely upon Thy Providence, hoping to receive from Thee, ho are my Light, my salvation. And I bless, glorify and worship Thee, together with the Father and the Son, with Whom Thou are Co-eternal and Co-existing, always, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen ( Saint Symeon the New Theologian)
Prayer is essential for the Christian believer. “It is obvious to all that without prayer it is entirely impossible to cultivate virtue and to live a virtuous life. For how can anyone be virtuous who does not pray and does not always bow reverently to the Provider and Giver of virtue?” Saint John Chrysostom writes, “Prayer does not only cleanse us from sin, it also protects us from great dangers.” This is why the holy Apostle Paul insists and constantly reminds us: “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). In another place he says: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Again he writes in another place: “Praying always with all prayer and supplications in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). With many such divine words the preeminent Saint Paul exhorts us to live our life in prayer and to nurture constantly our mind with it, because “all human beings have need of prayer just as trees have need of water.” As the trees cannot bear fruit unless they drink from their roots abundant water, so also we cannot produce the precious fruit of piety unless we are nurtured by prayer.
Many of our families are secluded and even isolated because of the threat from the pandemic. Orthodox Christians, as others, work from home and the children are taught online or virtually. Parents and children are spending more time together which is a good thing. It is also a valuable opportunity for our Christian families to turn their attention to the Almighty and Loving God in prayer. The children should be taught prayers by their parents and to pray together daily as a family. Children should be encouraged to read the Holy Bible and the virtuous life of their personal and intercessor Saint. Orthodox Christian spiritual life can be strengthened during this most dangerous time. Our children are very frightened by everything they hear about this virus and therefore they need to know that God will protect them and their family and friends. Prayer is God’s greatest gift to us.
Prayer is essential and a unique blessing, honor, and privilege given to mankind. “It is this communion with God that not only defines us as human beings, but also offers to us the victory over Satan, sin and death.” Our faith obliges us to thank God, not only when He grants our requests, but always and for all things. Nothing in our life is arbitrary. Everything that happens and everything that does not happen is under the Divine Providence and wisdom of God, and we should be able to accept it with gratitude and humility.
We find comfort and inspiration in prayer. “…teach us Thy statues, for we know not how to pray fittingly unless Thou, Lord, through Thy Holy Spirit, lead us. Wherefore we pray, if up to this moment we have sinned, in word, or in deed or in thought, deliberately or not, loose, remit, forgive…” “Shine in our hearts the true Sun of Thy Righteousness; enlighten our minds and rule our senses so that, as in the day, walking with grace, in the way of Thy precepts, we may attain to eternal life. For with Thee is the Source of Life, and so, may we be found worthy to delight in Thine unapproachable Light. For Thou are our God, and to Thee we give glory; to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” (Office of Orthros)
Pray for me as I always pray for you.
With agape in Our Savior Jesus Christ,