Our youngest child is going into his freshman year in high school and is currently going through some intense football practices getting ready for the start of the football season. There is an emphasis on teamwork, discipline and personal responsibility. A great deal of effort is put into starting the new year strong.

As we begin the new ecclesiastical year, what is our focus? Are we getting ourselves ready? Will we just go through the motions of what is on the calendar for another year, or will we attempt to make this year special and meaningful?

We recently had the rich blessing of being away at our Holy Trinity Summer Camp at Camp Angelos on the Sandy River in Corbett, Oregon. The theme this year was “Always Say A Prayer.” Getting away from the normal routine and into nature was very good for the soul. We had some great discussions about prayer and plenty of time to pray together. It was rejuvenating.

It was a wonderful reminder that as we start the new ecclesiastical year, we should emphasize the practice of prayer. I had the youngest group of campers in my discussion group, and they had very deep and meaningful comments and questions regarding many aspects of our faith. I was also inspired when I asked about the practice of prayer in their homes. There were some beautiful ways that their families were practicing prayer together. They were offering traditional prayers of the church at various times during the day as a family and disciplined in practicing personal prayer as well.

September offers us a fresh start to make the most of the church calendar to take opportunities to participate in both corporate and personal prayer. I pray that we will all put some effort into starting the new ecclesiastical year off strong. May this year be one in which we all find spiritual renewal. A great quote to remember as we embark on our journey is from St. Theophan the Recluse.

"Prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; prayer is the driving force of everything; prayer is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For
prayer will not allow anything to go wrong."