For those of who don’t know, my name is Thano Prokos. I’m the current Great Lakes Student Leader on the OCF Student Leadership Board, and I had privilege along with the awesome Nicholas Wacks to be one of your Day of Prayer coordinators this year.
In the spirit of Great Lent, I’m going to have to ask you all to forgive my cheesiness when I say that Day of Prayer has held a special place in my heart since my first year in OCF. Before I ever participated in College Conference, Real Break, or Serve for St. Patrick Day, I participated in Day of Prayer with the rest of my OCF chapter. The first time where I was ever part of something along with the greater OCF body was when I stood in front of a MacBook camera in St. George Church in Chicago reading the Compline service with my chapter and whoever was watching online.
So, when I was told that I would share the responsibility of coordinating Day of Prayer, I definitely felt eager because of how familiar I was with the program. However, I challenged myself to really think about what Day of Prayer meant to me, and why it’s an essential staple on our OCF calendar. Sure, it’s a great way to expose your campus to Orthodoxy, and it’s a wonderful way to start Lent off on the right foot, but what more can we get from Day of Prayer?
Consider for a minute our OCF theme this year:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
If you asked me what the best thing about Orthodoxy is, I would argue that it’s the fact that the Orthodox Church truly is one whole church. Let’s get a little cosmic for a moment; through our traditions and our communion with each other, our church transcends both time and space to exist as one body existing in tandem with our Lord.
Think about it…
We regularly hold a service originating from the early first millennium. At least once a week we receive communion, partaking in the body of our one Savior. We revere saints: role models of all different walks of life whom we believe to be influentially and metaphysically present in our services. Much of our theology revolves around the belief that we engage in the same worship as the Orthodox in our neighboring churches, our cathedrals, our mission parishes, churches abroad, our Orthodox ancestors, and the Orthodox of the future. If we don’t believe in a finite Christ, then neither should we believe that His bride is finite. Our faith is a celebration of that infinite one-ness: all Orthodox everywhere at all times are united.
Alright, so now that we’re no longer smoking the incense, lets get back to something a bit more concrete, shall we?
Day of Prayer is very much a microcosm of that convoluted mess I described two paragraphs ago. If you participated, you offered pretty much the same service as everyone else who participated. You read the same list of names and prayed for the same people that every other participant read, and when your hour was up another chapter did the same thing that you did. It’s best not to think of Day of Prayer as 24 separate services, but instead one service offered by our whole OCF body.
We’re about two weeks into Great Lent, and if we reflect on Day of Prayer’s purpose as our OCF kickoff into this season of bright sorrow, then there are many things that we can take away from the rest of our journey. Here are just a couple:
- Hold on to or get a copy of our Day or Prayer reader service! I’ve already used it a couple times as a reference for group and individual prayer over the past couple of weeks. If you have difficulty finding lists of prayers that you can offer, then try this one out as a reference.
- Remember that you’re not on your Lenten journey alone. You’re on your way to Pascha along with all Day of Prayer participants and the rest of our Orthodox body. Keep all of us in your prayers, and use the dedication to the faith we exhibited on Day of Prayer as fuel to keep moving forward this Lent.
I really want to thank all those who participated in Day of Prayer and our North American staff for working so hard to give us the resources and organization to make it possible. If you or your fellow students didn’t get a chance to participate in Day of Prayer this year, then I highly encourage you to make sure you sign up next year. Remember, that we’re all one church and one body, and while infinite is a pretty big concept, it’s just not quite as big if you’re not involved!
Enjoy the beginning of Spring, and what I pray to be a fulfilling and fruitful Lenten Season!
About the Author
This is a guest post from Thano Prokos, Great Lakes Regional Student Leader on the 2013-2014 Student Leadership Board. Thano is a junior at DePaul University, majoring in Secondary Education. This is his first year serving OCF on the SLB.