Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Help us, save us, have mercy upon us, and protect us, O God, by Your grace.
This petition for the help, salvation, mercy and protection of God is also stated multiple times in the Divine Liturgy. We’ve all had days where the above-quoted Psalm describes our lives. We feel forsaken by friends, co-workers, the world in general, and perhaps even by God Himself. This petition appears in the Liturgy so often because the Church recognizes that life in this world is tough, and that we need the reinforcement, not once, but many times, that the Lord is here to help us negotiate the stormy seas of life by offering to us the help, safety, mercy and protection that we all desperately need.
Most of us are familiar with the story of the footprints in the sand by Mary Stevenson:
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”
So, when life is hard, we are reminded through this petition that the Lord will help us, save us, have mercy on us and protect us in the way that only He can.
Heavenly Father, thank You for granting me the help, safety, mercy and compassion I need to sustain me through this life. Please help me to trust in Your protection, help and mercies especially in the times when life gets hard. Make haste to help me when I feel forsaken and lost. Lord be near me and never leave me. Amen.
Have a blessed day!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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