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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros 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 me, O Lord my God! Save me according to thy steadfast love. Psalm 109:26
Good morning Prayer Team!
Help us, save us, have mercy upon us, and protect us, O God, by Your grace.
Concluding this opening set of petitions is a prayer that will be heard several times in the Liturgy. This is not a prayer speaking in generalities—like for good weather, or safe travel. This prayer is very personal. It is a cry to God from the heart—it is said in the plural, because the liturgy is a corporate prayer. And we are praying for help, salvation, mercy and protection for everyone around us. But you can think also of this prayer in the singular—Help ME, save ME, have mercy upon ME and protect ME, O God, by Your grace. Now, try reading this another way, with the emphasis on the actions of God, almost screaming it out—HELP me, SAVE me, HAVE MERCY on me, and PROTECT me, O God by Your GRACE. Prayed properly, this petition cries to God for the things that we are in such desperate need of, that He bestows so freely. We offer this petition so often, that perhaps we hear it with complacency, rather than with urgency. We need help from God, because there are certain kinds of help that only God can provide. We need God to guide us to salvation, because no way can we guide ourselves there alone. We need His mercies because that is the only thing that can overcome our sinfulness. And we need His protection because that is the only thing that can safeguard our souls. As we have prayed for so many things in the Great Litany, the last thing we pray for is for ourselves—for help, salvation, mercy and protection—key ingredients needed for the journey of today, this week and this life, on our journey to eternal life.
Lord, watch over me today in all that I am doing. Help me overcome the challenges that this day will bring. Allow me to take a positive step in my journey to salvation. Have mercy on whatever shortcomings I will fall in today. And protect me from all harm. Offer to me the grace, which You so richly pour out on all people. Please pour that upon me today in all that I am doing. Amen.
Have a great day!