Prayer for us and for the entire world

We choose to follow Christ and He will choose for us

“Let us put on the whole armor of God”

Our times start to look more and more like the first centuries of Christianity. Paganism is spreading with the speed of the internet. The antichrist atheism conquers more and more the collective mind and Christians, or those who consider themselves normal, are strongly marginalized. More and more, the politically correct dictatorship oppresses Christians and the freedom of conscience persecutes those who declare that sin is not a virtue or that those things against nature are not from God, but from the devil.

What can we do, alone, empty handed, small and powerless, in front of this unleashed evil? Nothing more than what was done by the first Christians after the Ascension of Christ into Heaven. We can only position ourselves into another perspective, into eternity, entering in the army of Christ, who has conquered the world. The biggest lie that the Christian has suffered in this world is that the struggle has ceased.

There is still a war, a war that has not ended and that will probably never end until the end of time. But nowadays it is a very subtle war for all those distracted by shows and entertainment, by worries and all kind of plans concerning the next day, plans for a future that has no future. But if we take a look at all the broken minds, all the broken families and at the restlessness that has entered this world, we can fully realize that we are in a real war, a unceasing struggle of every day and every hour, one that claims hundreds of millions of victims. If we become aware of this, the first thing that we will understand, and maybe the most important thing in our life to understand, is that we must put on, as the Holy Apostle Paul advises,the whole armour of God and go courageously into the fight. As ‘it is a permanent war and the soldiers of Christ must always have the weapons upon them. There is no day nor night in which this war will stop; no matter if we eat, sleep, work or pray, we are always in the middle of the war.’ (St. Simeon the New Theologian)

‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;’ Ephesians 6:10-18

If we read carefully, we realize that the Apostle Paul is not just making a metaphorical reference to war and its weapons. Every weapon must have a specific function in this war. However, one weapon is missing from the usual arsenal of a Roman soldier of the time: the spear. Why? Precisely because it is not a defensive weapon, but one made to attack. By this we understand that a Christian should not lead an offensive combat according to the laws of classical wars, for the victory of a Christian is to stand against evil, to resist evil, to stay away from evil, thereby indicating his desire to be with Christ, Who, through us, will overcome. For, in fact, Christ is the victorious One.

The victory already belongs to Christ. What is left for the Christian is “only” to put on Christ and assume – through his choices, through his asceticism, Christ’s victory. Is it not this example that the confessors of the communist prisons showed us? What they did was only to resist against the Evil outside and inside themselves, fighting in order to stay away from it, forcing themselves to the limit of their own strengths. And Christ shone victorious in each of them.

‘In a war nobody is fights by himself’

Many ask themselves: ‘What should a Christian’s involvement in politics look like?’ The answer can only be the same one that Apostle Paul gives: the Christian involves himself in politics through ‘asceticism’! Of course, this happens without giving up his role of citizen in the life of his city.

Sure, this sounds trivial. But this asceticism (which begins and ends with prayer) must be lived as concretely as possible, primarily in the battle with our own passions.

“Ascetics are the only missionaries of Orthodoxy”, says St. Justin Popovici. "The only missionary school is the work of labour. Orthodoxy means ascetic effort and life, and only through these two its mission is forwarded and fulfilled. Living this ascetism should be the inward mission of our Church among the people. "

What do we mean by this? What can we do concretely?

Firstly, to struggle to direct our thoughts as much as possible to God every single day. We do this through prayer, through reading the Gospel and the lives or holy words of our saints. Then, wherever we are and whatever we do, we can say a short prayer, a "Lord have mercy!" Or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!" or another prayer dedicated to the Virgin Mary or to a particular saint we venerate. Let us guard our conscience, so that we can partake of the Body and Blood of our Savior, going to confession as often as possible. And as for world ycares, leave them to the Lord, for we will see that He can solve our problems more quickly when we leave them to Hi , especially because we do no longer obsess over them.

This training, this personal asceticism is essential, but no one is fighting alone in this war. Since the beginning of the world, people gathered to defend themselves against the common enemy. First in groups of less than a few dozen people, eventually reaching “armies” of thousands and tens of thousands. Christians of the first centuries were doing this same thing. In small or large groups, they would gather to pray together to the Lord.

Carefully considering all of these things, we believe that the time has come to assume our role of soldiers of Christ in an organized manner, with strategy, consistency and reliability. Thus, when the need arises, we sound the horn, and we come together to fight: organized and victorious.

‘For where two or three gather in My name…’ Matthew 18:20

How can such a thing happen in a world where, although we can travel with wondrous speed, lack of time and the traffic prevents us from meeting each other and gathering in prayer? The solution we found with the help of God, inspired by the model of the confessors from the communist prisons, is the prayer of the nightly “unextinguished candle”,which was presented in the interview that appeared in the 67th no.(August 2014) of the "Orthodox Family" magazine.

This endeavour is about creating a group of prayer, whether numerous or not, which, gathered around a priest, practices unceasing prayer every night; everyone signing up for two, three or more hours per week according to the availability and possibility of each. We believe that these can be considered "spiritual warfare units" nowadays. This prayer, this spiritual bond through prayer cannot be taken from us by anyone, unless we give up.

Just think what it would be like if in every city in the country such "Candles" would be set up and all these true soldiers of Christ would have a connection between them through the leaders of these groups. Could not this be considered an army of Christ, which has dozens or hundreds of platoons and tens of thousands of fighters? Thus, at critical moments in the life of our people, this common prayer, when all those involved in the Candle are praying for the same thing, will be crucial. Also, when someone will rise against us Christians, we will commemorate his name before God; and we will do the same for those who will represent us in social-political field, fighting to defend our dignity and Christian conscience in society.

Christ Himself advises us on this: ‘Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.’ Matthew 18:19-20

If this applies to two or three, then won’t more prayer be heard if twenty thousand people will bend their knees at a specific request? Or if ten thousand priests at the altar during the Proskomedia will mention the name of the same man?

We believe this is a golden pathway through which we can truly defend ourselves and through which we can fight the war that is brought against us, one that will be stronger and stronger. In order to form these "Candles" of unceasing prayer we do not need any money, nor the press, nor do we need to lobby in the Romanian or the European Parliaments.

All we need is faith in God - a fighting faith - and a little spirit of sacrifice. If even now we can not make this little sacrifice, will we be able to confess Christ giving up all, even liberty and life in the coming times that knock at our doors?...

We hope that our message will reach not only the Romanian Orthodox in our country, but to all the corners of the world, wherever Orthodoxy is alive through its witnesses. When all the Orthodox people around the world will organize themselves to pray together in this endeavour of "the Candle", when we will decide to keep a strict fast on certain days in order to pray for the ceasing of the persecution against Christians in places like Syria and Iraq, the course of history will be different. This is what we believe should be our Christian testimony in the times in which we live, realizing that this global war that is taken up against man and against normality, is simply a battle lead by th evil one to subdue the world to him and to distance it away from Christ. For in Christ, the rulers of the darkness of this world know that they can do nothing.