“FOR GOD IS WITH US…”

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.

"And I shall trust in Him, and I shall be saved by
Him,
For God IS WITH US," (Great Compline)

People of sincere faith in God, aware of the danger and evil all around us, feel the great need to pray to Him, and seek His guidance, healing, forgiveness, and protection. According to one of the great Holy Fathers of the Church, Saint John Chrysostom, "Prayer is the beginning of every good thing, and the mediator of salvation and eternal life." The Holy Father continues: "For what more saintly things can happen to those who converse with God? What more righteous? Prayer and supplication fills them with so much wisdom, so much virtue, and understanding, and goodness, and prudence and gracious manners!"

However, the Christian believer should approach the Lord our God with faith, a contrite heart, and a humble spirit. The prayer attitude that I have in mind is that of the prodigal son in the Gospel of Saint Luke 15:18-19: "I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."

It is also also a good thing and spiritually profitable to turn to Psalm 51 [50], a prayer of repentance. It begins, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness…" The prayer should always be, a prayer that comes from a penitent, a prayer that acknowledges God’s Greatness and our unworthiness i.e, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican Luke 18: 9-14. Our Lord Jesus Christ reveals to us how we should pray: "…And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER" (V. 13).

And of course the greatest of all prayers, the Lord’s Prayer: "Our Father…" (Luke 11:2-4).

Prayer must be taken seriously and must be offered with profound faith, reverence, love, and trust. Prayer must always come from deep in the heart and not the lips. It must be said with nonfiction and guided by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches us how to pray. No one but no one should ever underestimate the power of genuine prayer.

LET US PRAY TO THE LORD. KYRIE ELEISON (LORD HAVE MERCY)

Psalm 141

Lord, I have cried ut to You, hear me,
Hear me, O Lord.

Lord, I have cried out to You, hear me,
Attend to the voice of my supplication.

Whenever I cry out to You, hear me, O Lord.

Let my prayer rise up as incense before You;
And may the lifting of my hands be an evening sacrifice;

Hear me in my prayer, O Lord,

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O Christ our God,
At all times and at every hour In heaven and on earth,
You are worshipped and glorified;
You are long-suffering most merciful, most compassionate,
You love the righteous and have mercy upon the sinners;
You call every one to salvation
through the promise of future blessings;
Receive O Lord, our prayers at this hour
And direct our life toward Your commandments.
Sanctify our souls, make our bodies chaste;
Correct our thoughts; purify our intentions;
And deliver us from every grief and pain that comes from evil.
Encompass us by Your holy Angels,
So that guarded by them
We may attain to the unity of the faith
And to the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory,
For You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Holy Orthodox Church possesses many beautiful and inspiring prayers such as the above. Saint John Chrysostom says, "Prayer is cause for salvation, meditation for the immortality of the soul, an unbreakable rampart of the Church, an unshakable guardian, fearful to the demons but salutary to the pious."
Finally my brothers and sisters in Christ, we exhort you…warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. Rejoice always, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU" (Thessalonians 5:14-18).

Christian believers should never dwell only on the challenges, problems, obstacles, sorrows, challenges, and failures in life. The true and authentic Christian is one who feels the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in his life, the numerous blessings from Him, his/her every decision in life is founded on hope in the Lord knowing that nothing can happen without His will. Our place is to be ceaselessly aware of the primacy of God’s Kingdom and to have full control over our spiritual faculties.

Our Savior and Creator reminds all of us: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION; BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD" (John 16:33). Therefore never but never give up, and never lose hope. Remember also that NO ONE IS CONTROL OF ANYTHING IN LIFE. The Almighty God is in control of His creation, including you and me.

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"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint Johh Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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