Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Tuesday 26 July 2022 and the Ukrainian people have been standing for 153 days and restraining the full-scale invasion of our homeland by the Russian army on our land. Military actions are taking place from the Kharkiv region in the north to the Mykolayiv region and the Kherson region in the south.
Last night and throughout yesterday, dozens of towns and villages in the Luhansk region and the Donetsk region suffered from merciless Russian bomb attacks. But the biggest rocket and bomb attacks were on our martyr cities of Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, and Odesa. It was precisely in Mykolayiv Oblast and Odesa Oblast that they tried to target the Black Sea ports of Ukraine, where these caravans of ships are being prepared for the export of grain from Ukraine—that much-needed bread—in order to protect the world from a food crisis. The enemy destroys the bread, bread that the Lord God gives. And the devil wants to steal it and take it away.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying.
Today I want to continue our reflection with you on the rules of Christian prayer. Because we know that prayer is the power that replenishes a person’s spiritual resources, spiritual powers, and abilities. Prayer is the power that unites man with God. Prayer fills a person with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
You and I have already talked about the fact that when we ask ourselves what we need to pray for, it is necessary to start with personal prayer—with a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer of repentance. Then we continue with a prayer of intercession for other people who are nearby, who are needy and suffering. And just after that, in the fourth place, you should mention your own needs in prayer. This order of the content of our prayer, our appeal to the Lord God, is in itself very deep and important, but it also teaches us that our needs, prayers, personal appeal, and request to the Lord God are always a request that we express as members of the community of the Body of Christ, the Church of Christ.
Our personal prayer, the requests we address to the Lord God, are part of our life. It is so important to have trust, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the awareness that the Lord God is listening to me. The Lord God listens to my personal requests that I direct to Him. Moreover, my words that I speak are not my monologue, but a dialogue, and the Lord God will answer me in His own way at His own time.
When we direct our personal prayer to the Lord God, it is necessary to remember several very important points. It is necessary to pray and ask the Lord God with great trust. There is no need to convince the Lord God in anything, because He knows everything we need even before we open our mouths in prayer. But it is so important to express it, to express everything that hurts us, everything that we need, with our words to our Creator and Saviour. And it is also very important to continue in that personal prayer. Because sometimes we have the feeling that the Lord God, for some reason, does not fulfill my will so quickly, that the Lord God does not respond to my requests as quickly as I would like. And here, we should remember the words of Saint Augustine that the Lord God does not need our personal prayer as much as we do. Because in our personal prayer and request for our own needs, we ourselves change. By asking God for something, this prayer of request begins to change us. First of all, we begin to understand more deeply what is really necessary for us. It is the Lord God with us, waiting for a person to mature in his desire for what he is asking for. That ripening into a desire for what a person asks from the Lord God Saint Augustine calls growth in the ability to receive from God what we ask. Because in order to receive much, you need to prepare a large recipient, you need to empty it from something else that fills this or that pitcher, or this or that vessel. And so, when we continue in prayer for a long time, we seem to leave everything else aside. Moreover, we seem to expand our soul and heart in order to receive even much more than we ask or imagine that we will receive.
Therefore, let us grow in prayer, in personal standing before the Lord God. Let us not get discouraged when we don’t get what we ask for right away. But in faithfulness to this prayer, let our heart and soul expand in order to receive the fullness of the gift that the Lord God has prepared for us.
Today, each of us has a lot of pain and needs. Let us bring these before the face of God and be sure that the Lord God will listen to us, accept us, caress us, as His beloved children who cry to Him day and night.
O God, bless Ukraine! O God, listen to the cries, laments, and wailing of our people who are suffering from this terrible war. O God, look at our tears, wounds, pain. O God, save us from the murderous hand of the Russian aggressor. O God, bless Ukraine and bless Your children.
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of mankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!