Dear brothers and sisters,
I wish you and your families a Happy and Blessed New Year. May our triune God’s blessing accompany you. As in the past, our goal remains the return of the Lord and our preparation for it. Once again, our Chief Apostle has given us a great direction in our motto for the year, “Prayer works!” and we unite around this.
Prayer works! We have experienced this many times in the course of our lives, both spiritually and naturally. The disciples of Jesus asked to be taught how to pray, and the Lord gave them the Lord’s Prayer, which we also pray when we participate in the divine services. We establish a wonderful connection with God, together with the congregation. Jesus was a special example in praying. Jesus prayed for His disciples, their faith, their love, and their oneness, and He prays for us. This gives us direction as to what we should pray for. The Holy Spirit will inspire and give us orientation to pray as Jesus Christ prays and to pray in His name (John 16: 23-24). Even when we don’t know what to say or how to pray for a situation, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8: 26). Our Lord wants our salvation.
As our Chief Apostle points out, the effects of prayer make us grateful, compassionate, strong, sanctified and united. We can read, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5: 16 ESV)
Although we can pray for everything, our focus remains on the return of the Lord. Jesus Christ directs us to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 36)
As we begin this New Year 2024, let us again tap into the power of prayer for ourselves, our families, our congregations and our fellow human beings. How powerful it is when we can express to one another, “For you, I am praying.”
Together with our Apostles and Bishops, we extend our love, prayers and best wishes for 2024.