Praying for the Whole World

At almost every Orthodox liturgical service, we offer up the prayer petition:

 For this city, for every city, country, and for the faithful who dwell in them, let us pray to the Lord.

Hieromonk Gregorios comments in his book on the Divine Liturgy:

“The love that is of God is universal and ecumenical: it embraces all people, all places, all times. ‘Perfect love…loves all men equally.’ It is this love that our holy Church imitates and she desires that we believers should live in the same way. The overflowing of this love is our prayer for the city in which we live, for every city and country. Christian believers ‘live in their own homelands, but as temporary visitors…They live on earth, but behave as if they are in heaven…They love all and are persecuted by all…In a word, what the soul is to the body, Christians are in all cities of the world….Christians sustain the world.’

Since Christians are the soul of the world, they should rejoice in people’s joy and suffer with their suffering. They should love people more than their parents according to the flesh love them. For ‘the saints occupy the place of the father, surpassing all fathers according to the flesh in their love and care for the people.’” (The Divine Liturgy: A Commentary in the Light of the Fathers, pp 123-124)