Every day we hear as a form of greeting the biblical expression : `May God help !` Its meaning is revealed by the Gospel we listened at the Holy Liturgy from last Sunday and which we hear every time we take part at the Sacrament of the Holy Unction. It refers at the Gospel called of the Canaanite woman where a mother from the pagan peoples asks the Saviour Jesus Christ to heal her daughter tormented by devil. Bowing before the Saviour, the Canaanite woman begs for the healing of her daughter addressing to Christ the Saviour with the words, `God, help me`. Following her supplication Christ the Lord heals her daughter right in that moment.
From the evangelical periscope from Matthew 15, 21-28 we see how the ardent prayer of the Canaanite woman has as a consequence the healing of her daughter. From the words she uses in her dialogue with the Saviour we have in the Christian practice two prayers: `God, have mercy!` which comes from `God, son of David have mercy on me!` and `God help me!
The first prayer we find in all services of our Church as an answer at the litanies which are told during the Orthodox liturgical service. This is a shortening of the Jesus prayer, `Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me the sinner!` By `God have mercy!` we have a direct prayer addressed to God through which we ask for the fulfillment of the our supplications following the model of faith and humbleness of the Canaanite woman.
The second prayer `God, help me!` became a habit of the Orthodox Christians a way of addressing to each other through prayer. Even if it seems at a certain moment to become trivialized by using it in public expression it expresses the awareness that without the help of God we can`t do anything. When we use the words of the Canaanite woman `God, help!` we should have her faith and surely Christ the Lord will answer to our supplication for salvation.
From these prayers coming out from the maternal love of the Canaanite woman for her daughter in her hard spiritual and physical pain and the healing which she gets we understand how important the prayer of the parents for their children is.
In this respect the Church urges the parents to pray daily for their children, praying God ceaselessly to pour over His Grace and to have mercy for the children He wished to give us.
By the prayers of the Canaanite woman `God have mercy !` and `God help!` we ask Good God to show us mercy and help us on the path to salvation during the time of this ephemeral life when we prepare for the eternal life from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Pr. Ciprian Florin Apetrei