Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
And thus you shall salute him: “Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.”I Samuel 25:6
We know that the overwhelming majority of messages we receive outside of our homes are discouraging. Which is why the overwhelming majority of messages we receive inside of our homes need to be encouraging. This helps to tip the balance, or at least balance out the discouragement we hear every day. Many people, however, forget to say words of affirmation and encouragement inside their homes. It’s not that they are discouraging. They perhaps assume that those in the house know how they feel. I.e. my kids know I love them, why do I need to say it? The fact is, you need to say it! They need to hear it! This goes for things we say to our spouses, to our children, what children say to their parents, what close friends say to one another. Words of encouragement need to be said and to be said often. Because they affirm others. And affirmation builds confidence.
So, what do words of encouragement sound like? An article I saw recently entitled “66 Positive Things to Say to Your Child.” I would argue that these are things that can be said to your spouse as well, most of them. And some of them can be said to close friends as well. Let me share a few of them, taken from this article:
I’m grateful for you.
You make me proud.
I love being your parent (or wife/husband).
You don’t have to be perfect to be great.
I know you did your best.
You were right.
We can try your way.
You make me happy.
I trust you.
Seeing you happy makes me happy.
I appreciate you.
That’s a very fair point.
You are beautiful inside and out.
I love you.
I could never stop loving you.
You make my heart full.
Here are some other things we should say often:
I’m very lucky.
Life is better with you in it.
You are beautiful.
You mean the world to me.
You make my heart overflow with happiness.
I can just about guarantee that there isn’t anyone who doesn’t like hearing words of affirmation. Some people need it more than others. It is a fact that most men need to hear affirmation more than women. But that doesn’t mean women don’t like to hear these words. Who doesn’t want to feel needed, appreciated and loved?
In a world that seems to constantly send messages to us that we are not okay, or not good enough, or that we are sorely lacking if we don’t have the latest “in thing,” words of affirmation are needed more than ever. And they don’t cost anything to give.
Saying something is great. Writing it down is a great thing too. We send so many text messages. How about a quick text to your spouse in the middle of the day that says “I’m thinking about you.” How about a little love note in your child’s lunch box that says “I love being your mommy/daddy.” A post-it note in the car or on the counter can work. A love letter. A kind comment on the way out the door. Make it a point to affirm and encourage as much as possible.
At prayer time, have each family member say something that affirms everyone else in the family.
Be sure to have the last comment before you leave each morning be a positive, affirming and encouraging one. “Have a great day” is much better than “see you later.”
Finally, a note to married couples. If you want to know one of the best ways to safeguard your marriage. Make a promise to your spouse to pray together each day, and use these words in prayer: “Thank You Lord, for our marriage.” If you make a commitment to pray this together every day, even on days you are mad, you are not going to stay mad for long.
Lord, thank You for the many special people in my life (list some of them). Help me to affirm and encourage each of them in some way today and every day. Help me to see the good in them and quickly move past the bad. So that I can be a source of positive reinforcement to them. Surround me also with people who will encourage and affirm me. And when I receive encouragement, help me to receive it with humility and gratitude. Amen.
Lots of possibilities for encouragement and affirmation. Make it a point for the next week to send one affirming message via text or note every day to your children and your spouse. Make sure you stop and deliberately say something affirming every day to your children and your spouse.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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