In prayer, Orthodox Christians often ask God for things, both for themselves and for others. If they follow Christ’s commandments, they pray not only for their family and friends in need, but also their enemies. Sometimes, it can be comforting and easy to leave it at that – to say a prayer to God and let Him take care of the rest. But as Orthodox Christians, intercessory prayer doesn’t stop with our thoughts and words. It spills over into our actions.
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Prayer is but a seed…
A farmer with a large family had an accident one day and broke his leg. Because of his injury, he would be unable to work for quite a while. A fellow parishioner in the church organized a prayer group for his family. And while they were together praying, a knock sounded at the door. A young boy stood there with boxes filled with harvested produce from the farmer’s fields. Potatoes, apples, corn, and wheat. And they delivered them to the man.
Intercessory prayer offered up to God is a beautiful start to helping us attain communion with Christ and with one another as adopted sons and daughters of the Most High. It is, in other words, a seed. One that must grow with continued nurturing. And that nourishment comes not only from sustaining our prayer lives, but also from obeying the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. As the Lord said in Matthew 25:40, “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
How to turn prayer into action
Sometimes, people find themselves at a loss when trying to figure out how they can fulfill the needs of their poor, sick, lonely, or elderly neighbors. Before doing anything, take some time to make a list of the people you are praying for that you believe you can help in some way. What talents has the Lord given you that you could put to good use in assisting someone else?
Perhaps a shut-in at your parish needs her house painted. Perhaps someone recuperating from illness needs some company or a hot meal. Or perhaps you can make a donation or volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or a crisis pregnancy center. The best way to discern what you can do to help someone is by carefully thinking about that person and his/her circumstances, and the talents God gave you that can address those needs.
Remember Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan, and think of ways you can give of your time, money, and talents to those desperately in need of your prayers.
Read More: Keeping the Orthodox Faith Alive at Home