Head of the UGCC Calls Faithful to Pray for the State throughout the Whole Year
KYIV – Patriarch Lubomyr issued an address to the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and to all people of good will with the appeal to pray for the state throughout the whole year. At the beginning of appeal the head of the UGCC states that “during many years our Church and other churches and religious organizations in pre-election time called the faithful to pray for the nation and for the state of Ukraine... Therefore, there is the impression that it is only necessary to pray during important events.” The text of the appeal was published by the official web site of the UGCC on March 9, 2010.
Responding to the erroneous understanding, the head of the UGCC explains that the “Holy Church teaches us that we need to always pray for the nation, for the authority, for the army.” As an example he cites a Divine Liturgy in which five times we ask the Lord for guardianship over our nation, authority, and army. Consequently, “the Church invites us to give the Lord our protected nation, authority, and army throughout the year, regardless if it’s before or after elections, because the state and nation always need God’s help, God’s benediction.” In addition to the joint prayer during the Divine Liturgy, the head of the UGCC calls the faithful to pray privately, recommending they use “prepared examples, such as the Prayer for the Ukrainian nation of Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky).”
Additionally, the document stresses the distinctions of prayer – liturgical and personal. Explaining the first distinction of prayer, Patriarch Lubomyr remarks that “some think that such prayer has to be concrete, that we have to present God the state leaders or decisions by name, which, in our opinion, assist overall good.” Using an example from the Holy Scripture, the head of the UGCC sums up: “In our prayers we do not have to share our decisions and plans with God, and request that He fulfill what we want or consider necessary. The Lord does not need advisers. He knows what is best for us. Therefore, when we pray either for personal necessities, or for the needs of the nation, authority, we have to trust God and ask Him to satisfy our needs as best as He can.”
The second distinction of prayer for the nation, which is presented in the document, is the implementation of the Divine will. “It would be dishonest and impolite to speak to Him, ask Him, knowing that without Him we can not help ourselves – but not to listen Him, do things our own way. If we sincerely wish to pray and entrust our nation, state, and army, all our law and order, in him, we have to execute His will and consciously overcome all that comes in conflict with this will,” said the hierarch.
The third distinction of prayer for the nation, in the opinion of the patriarch, is labor. “God could do everything by Himself because He created the world and nature without us; however, He wants us to cooperate with Him – such is His holy will. It is for us a great honor and at the same time a great responsibility: we have to contribute to the understanding of the general blessing. Therefore, when we pray we don’t stop working, because without our labor nothing will be done, nothing will happen. If we pray sincerely, then we must sincerely try to work, to do that of which we are capable, to jointly build, rise up, and fortify. Prayer and labor complement one another,” concluded the head of the UGCC.