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Der Samuel's Sermon - June 4th, 2023

As we heard earlier, the deacon read the letter of St. James where the apostle spoke about the power of the prayer, and he said: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." To give an example, St. James brought up the narration of the prophet Elijah when by a prayer he brought a drought over an entire city for three and a half years. Driven by curiosity we might ask; How God accepts a prayer that would harm the human being? The answer is quite simple, during the time of the prophet Elijah, God approached people according to their comprehension level. In other words, God was teaching people that if they don’t stay close to him, they will be lost. However, because the people of that time did not have a comprehension of the soul, God taught through physical death. During our childhood at home, in church, in school, and in Sunday School, our parents and teachers taught us prayers, what we need to pray, and when we need to pray. And I am confident that somehow, we all do what we learned. All religions have an understanding of prayer, and everyone prays in their way. We, Christians, pray to God who created this world and whatever exists in it. We who are born again through the baptismal font of the church, call Him Father and that is the difference between Christianity and the other religions. Sometimes many will ask, 'What should I pray? Usually, when we start to pray, we think that we should use great, difficult words to please God. But no. God hears us all the time. God knows each of us very well, and it is very good for us to address him naturally. Just as we are. We are all equal Infront of God. One time, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them a prayer, Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer HAYR MER. So, if we do not know what to pray, let us pray the Lord’s Prayer, which includes all the principles of prayer. Thus, we will begin with the glorification of God, and we will go back to our fleshly needs, and we will finish by cleansing our souls and asking for protection from evil. And do we need something else in our life? I will give you another choice, and that is the book of Psalms. If you can’t find words to speak with God read the Psalms. When we were children, I will tell you what I used to do. I used to present a list of wishes to God and ask him to make my wishes, and I’m sure probably you did the same thing in your childhood. But we read in the gospel of Matthew the following: " When you pray, do not keep talking on and on. That is what ungodly people do. They think they will be heard because they talk a lot. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him" (Mt 6:7–8). Therefore, if we worry about our problems, will it change or solve them if we talked longer? No. The only thing that can solve our problems and make us feel more comfortable is a prayer to our heavenly Father and be sure that He will solve all our problems at the right time and the right way. As St. James said in his letter, we must pray with pure heart and mind and be righteous personally.

And coming back to today’s St. James’s letter, I will ask you that instead of talking to each other, pray for each other. Everyone needs a prayer, I need someone to pray for me, you need someone to pray for you. I don’t know if you ever noticed, but during the Divine Liturgy (Badarak) we pray for the peace of the whole world, for bishops, patriarchs, and for our leaders. As you see we pray for everyone. It doesn’t matter who we are, or in what position we are, we all need a prayer. If we look at the morning service, that we did before Divine Liturgy (Badarak) we will see that we even pray for our enemies. Why pray for our enemies as Jesus said when he was on the cross, they don’t know what they do. Therefore, once again I ask you to pray for me and for each other. Even for those that you don’t like them. And in that, you will fulfill God’s commandment. May God grant peace to the whole world, to the churches, to our leaders, and to our people forever and ever, amen.

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