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Malankara World Journal Issue 47 (Jan 12, 12) is available online

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  • Dr. Jacob Mathew
    The Malankara World Journal Issue 47 (January 12, 2012) is now available online at: http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNews_47.htm Malankara World
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2012
      The Malankara World Journal Issue 47 (January 12, 2012) is now available online at:

      Malankara World Journal
      Issue No. 47 January 12 2012

      Special Edition on Prayer

      Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 47

      1. Reflections

      2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (January 15, 2012)

      3. Sermons Based on the Gospel Reading for This Sunday (January 15, 2012)

      4. Inspiration for Today: Prayer As Seen by Saints

      5. Featured This Week: Watch and Pray

      6. Book Excerpt: With Christ In the School of Prayer - Lesson 19: Power for Praying and Working

      7. Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?

      8. When Praying: Want vs. Need

      9. How to Open Your Heart to Christ

      10. Prayer Kept Apostles Busy

      11. Effective Prayer

      12. Iesu, Dulcis Memoria - A Beautiful Prayer/Hymn

      13. Marriage

      14. Humor: Fishing on Sunday

      15. About Malankara World

      1. Reflections

      As we enter a new year, it is time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Malankara World's mission is to help the families to grow spiritually. Although a lot remains to be done, we did accomplish quite a lot in the past year with God's help. Rather than getting into too many things and not making an impact on any one, our strategy was to concentrate on few things and then expand the circle as we go along. The development of the website, branding of Malankara World, introduction of Malankara World Journal, and development of a community centered around MW were the initial objectives. We have made major strides in each of these areas.

      If you look back at the past 46 issues of Malankara World Journal and the website, you will notice that we had several emerging themes:

      Understanding God - Trinity, love, Theotokos, saints, keeper of promises and covenants. Malankara World has developed various supplements to explain these concepts in detail.

      Servant Leadership. If you want to be a leader in Christianity, you should humble yourself to be a servant and to be of service to the community

      God uses Ordinary People to do Extraordinary Things. God has a plan/purpose for each of us. Each one of us is special to God. Jesus has loved us so much that he has died for us.

      Importance of Church in your Spiritual Journey. Church is the body of Christ. The head needs a body. Church is an important part of Orthodoxy.

      Importance of Prayer - how, why, when, what. Prayer is our means to communicate with God. It is the relationship builder. So, understanding prayer is very important for our spiritual growth.

      Understanding Bible - To get going, we started exploring the gospel passages read on Sundays in church.

      What is Unique to Orthodoxy? This is a well kept secret to many. Our liturgy is one of the best. In order to understand our tradition and faith we need to understand our sacraments, liturgy, faith, feasts and our place in the Body of Christ.

      Family in the cultural, and spiritual context. Family is the microcosm of church is very very important. What can we do to help families together?

      If you now go back to the past 46 issues of the MW Journal, you will find that we have covered these themes several times. We will continue that process. This, after all, is a work in process.

      One of the recurring themes we hear when talking to young people in our church is that they do not understand our liturgy, and that we are not spending time in teaching bible in church. Many of them are attracted to Pentecostal or non-denominational churches as a result. We have attempted to tackle this issue by expanding on the commentary, gospel analyses, sermons and studies of the gospel passages specified in the lectionary for the week by the Holy Church. We are gratified that many of our clergy from all over the world are using this material as a supplement to prepare for their sermons. We will get into the New Testament Epistle Readings and Old Testament Readings as we progress ahead.

      We do not want to dwell on the other themes. If you had been following us along you would have recognized the emphasis we have placed on these already.

      This week's Journal focuses on Prayer. A quote I have come across, gives a good perspective on the power of prayer:

      "If we really understand the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.

      During WWII, an adviser to Churchill organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace.

      Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have."

      This week in church, our Lord continues the preparation for his public ministry after his baptism. The memorable line in the reading is Philip's exhortation to Nathaniel: "Come and See." There is a beautiful book written about Mother Teresa, a favorite of mine, that has the title, "Come and See" describing Mother's work in Calcutta. Mother likes to show people what she does rather than giving speeches. She, obviously, learned it from her master.

      Jesus had seen Nathaniel earlier sitting under a fig tree. A fig tree in Holy Land is about fifteen feet tall. Its branches spread out about 25 feet in width like a canopy providing a shady retreat to anyone who want to relax. Fig trees in Middle East is like Banyan Trees in India. In Jesus' time, there were very few private houses and the ones in existence were very small - typically a one bedroom dwelling. If someone wanted to get away from the chaos of the day and want to relax, read scripture, reflect, meditate or pray, he or she would sit under the fig tree. So, sitting under a fig tree was a sign of seeking and praying for God's living presence. Of course, we use our church for the same purpose. We go to church with the yearning to experience the touch of the living God. Church provides us a "retreat" from the chaos of the world around us. We can read bible, reflect, and pray in the company of fellow worshipers. When I was young, I used to go to Manarcad Church (about 8 miles from our house) during the 8-day lent time with my mother. My mother won't make or serve any food during the lenten days, so we are fasting. But when we are in church, we forget all about food and hunger. We spent time listening to sermons, singing hymns with others, read or listen to bible readings etc. Nathaniel was doing similar things alone under the fig tree when Jesus saw him.

      As I said earlier, one of the themes highlighted by Malankara World is that God picks ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The best example of this is the way Jesus assembled his disciples. Jesus could have assembled a team of renowned scholars like Nicodemus as his disciples. He didn't do it. In fact, if you brought all his disciples together into one room, you would never imagine that this sorry-looking pack of ordinary folks could change the world. But that is what Jesus expected from them and that is what they eventually did. The disciples changed the world because they were the first ones to whom the secret of the universe was revealed.

      Scott Hoezee made the following comments about the disciples:

      "If you're going to save the world, you've got to start somewhere. And if in the end you're going to save the world through humility, gentleness, compassion, and sacrifice, it makes sense to begin with a bunch of fellows who couldn't get much more humble if they tried! The messengers fit the message. In fact, over the course of his ministry if Jesus had any significant struggles with his disciples, it was the struggle to keep them humble and ordinary-looking. Every time a couple of them started angling for power or arguing amongst themselves as to who was the greatest, Jesus slapped them back down to the street level of service. When Peter tried to wield a sword, Jesus told him to put it back in its sheath.

      The disciples needed to be common, ordinary, and, above all, humble if they were going to do Jesus any good and so change the world."

      Leonard Sweet narrated the story of an young woman who wanted to go to college. Her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

      If we are honest, the main problems we face in Kerala is that everyone wants to be the chief and no one wants to be the 'Indian' - the follower. Jesus said, if you want to be the leader, you should first learn how to serve everyone. (Servant Leadership).

      In the Gospel lesson this Sunday, Phillip comes to Nathanael and proclaims that he has found the one whom Moses wrote about. He is Jesus of Nazareth. Nathaniel, with a cynical sneer asked Philip, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip was calm and composed. His short answer: "Come and see."

      Leonard Sweet wrote about the implication of this incident to our church today:

      "You see, the church has the same problem. The church is full of those sure of themselves. We may even get to the point where we believe very little that we are told. We sit back under the fig tree with the sneer of a Nathanael and we ask, "Can anything good come from , Can anything good come from our Youth Group; can anything good come from (St. Paul's Men's Prayer Fellowship, St. Mary's Women's League, etc.) ..." People come in and out the doors of this church with a critical eye. Skepticism is not a modern virtue. 'Doubting Thomases' have been around since the dawn of time. By nature we don't want to be led. We want to lead. But, in the church, it is imperative that we have followers. In fact, it is imperative for all of us to be followers.

      Nathanael learned this. He was skeptical at first but he was transformed. He became a follower because Phillip invited him.

      Let me ask you: What was it that Phillip saw in Christ that moved him to follow, that stirred him so (much) to invite his friend Nathanael. Come and see what? What did Phillip see in Jesus of Nazareth? Come and see what?

      1. Come and see souls redeemed.
      2. Come and see lives transformed.
      3. Come and see the heavens opened."

      Read the bible commentaries, sermons, gospel analyses etc. pertaining to this week's Gospel reading in Malankara World to learn more.


      Think of the ways we can make a difference so that our church will truly be transformed into the body of the Christ. In a few weeks we will be knocking at the door of the Great Lent and then the passion week. Enjoy the new year!!


      2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (January 15, 2012)
      Second Sunday after Baptism of our Lord

      St. John 1:26-34

      St. John 1:35-42

      Before Holy Qurbana

      Leviticus 22:26-33
      Proverbs 9:1-9
      Isaiah 51:1-8

      Holy Qurbana

      I Peter 3:7-15
      Hebrews 1:1-2:4
      St. John 1:43-51


      3. Sermons Based on the Gospel Reading for This Sunday (January 15, 2012)

      We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

      This Week's Features

      4. Inspiration for Today: Prayer As Seen by Saints

      According to St. John Damascene, a 6th century bishop and doctor of the Church, "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."

      According to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."

      St. Augustine, the early church father and theologian, described prayer as like a man in a hapless boat who throws a rope at a rock. The rock provides the needed security and stability and life for the helpless man. When the rock is lassoed it's not the man pulling the rock to the boat (though it may appear that way); it is the pulling of the boat to the rock. Jesus is the rock, and we throw the rope through prayer.

      Prayer is the lifeline that saves the drowning soul. Prayer is the umbilical cord that provides nourishment to the starving spirit. Prayer is the channel by which God's life-giving presence flows to us. (Rick Ezell, "One-Minute Uplift" newsletter)


      Read the rest of the informative articles and features in this week's Malankara World Journal online at.


      In HIS Service

      Dr. Jacob Mathew
      Malankara World

      Malankara World Journal
      Hudson, Ohio
      ID No: 956
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