January 19th, 2020 – The Second Sunday after Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42

The Old Testament lesson for today is provided by the second Servant Song from Isaiah. Its emphasis on the calling of the servant and his special vocation as a “light to the nations” makes it
especially appropriate in the season of Epiphany. The psalm is a prayer of thanksgiving which finally prompts the psalmist to tell abroad the good news of deliverance. The Epistle consists of the
opening greeting from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians in which he gives thanks for the congregation and expresses confidence in the presence and saving, sanctifying power of God at work in the
ongoing life of the Church, which itself is an “ epiphany” or manifestation of God. The Gospel lesson today from John recalls the Baptism of Jesus which we celebrated last Sunday, and provides us with further theological content and reflection of the epiphany that took place there, and shows how it
was that others came “to see and believe.”

Prayer is doxology, praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication and intercession to God. “When I prayed I was new,” wrote a great theologian of Christian antiquity, “but when I stopped praying I became old.” Prayer is the way to renewal and spiritual life. Prayer is aliveness to God. Prayer is strength, refreshment, and joy. Through the grace of God and our disciplined efforts prayer lifts us up from our isolation to a conscious, loving communion with God in which everything is experienced in a new light. Prayer becomes a personal dialogue with God, a spiritual breathing of the soul, a foretaste of the bliss of God’s kingdom.

As we pray deeply within our hearts we grow in prayer. By the grace of God we suddenly catch a glimpse of the miracle of the presence of the Holy Spirit working within us. At first it is only a spark but later it becomes a flame freeing and energizing our whole being. To experience the fire of God’s holy love, to give it space within us to do its cleansing and healing work as a breath of the Holy Spirit, and to use it as light and power for daily living — such are the goals as well as the fruits of true prayer.

The Fruits of True Prayer – Prayer & Spiritual Life – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America