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"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night…"

Human life costs less and less… It has become frightening to live — there is danger on all sides. Any one of us can be robbed, degraded, killed. Understanding this, people try to defend themselves: who gets a dog, who buys weapons, who turns his living quarters into a fortress.

The fear of our time has not by-passed the Orthodox. "How must one defend oneself against his neighbor?" — sometimes ask believing people. Our main defense—is the Lord Himself. Without His will, as it is said in the Scriptures, "shall not an hair of your head perish" (Lk. 21:18). This does not mean that we must challenge the sinful world with unreasonable hope in God. We must firmly remember the words "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matt. 4:7)

God gave us the greatest relics for defense against visible enemies. The first and foremost of these is the Christian shield — the bodily cross, which should not be removed under any circumstances; secondly, holy water and the artos, taken every morning. Also, Christians are protected by prayer. In many churches belts are sold on which the text of the 90th psalm, "He that dwelleth in the most High…" and the prayer to the True Cross, "Let God arise…" are printed. It is worn on the body, beneath the clothing. The 90th psalm has great power, Spiritually experienced persons recommend reading it before each time they exit onto the street, no matter how often we leave the house. St. Ignatius Branchaninov suggests crossing oneself and reading the prayer: "I renounce you, satan, and renounce your pride and your deeds, and attach myself to You, Christ, my Savior, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen." Orthodox parents must make the sign of the cross on each child, if he goes out alone.

Finding oneself in a dangerous situation, one must pray: "Let God arise," or "To Thee, the Champion Leader," (first kondakion from the Akathist to the Mother of God), or simply "Lord, have mercy," multiple times. One must turn to prayer even when danger threatens another person, but there is not enough courage and strength to offer assistance.

Prayers to God’s beloved who were glorified in military knowledge in life are very powerful: St. George the Victory-Bearer, St. Theodore Stratilat, St. Dmitry Donskoi. We will not forget the Archangel Michael, or our Angel-Protector. All of them received special power to help the weak in defeating their enemies.

"Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (Ps. 127:1) The house of each Christian should be blessed. The grace will protect each house from all evil. If there is not opportunity to call a priest, one must sprinkle holy water on all the walls, windows, and doors, reading "Let God arise…" or "Save, O Lord, Thy people" (the troparion to the Cross). From the danger of arson, fire, it is usual to pray the Mother of God before Her icon "The Bush that does not Burn."

Of course, none of his will help, if we will lead a sinful life, and will not bring repentance for a long time. Often the Lord permits extreme situations to bring unrepentant sinners to their senses.

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