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” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Do You Have a Thirst For God?
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? Psalm 42:2
When we are thirsty, we feel the need to consume liquids. Sometimes on a hot day, we drink a glass of water and find that we are still thirsty. So, perhaps we have a second glass of water, and then we feel “satiated,” we are no longer thirsty. If someone comes to us in that moment and asks “are you thirsty?” the answer would be “no, I am satisfied.” There are moments in life when I definitely feel thirsty for something to drink, and there are moments in life when I am not thirsty. I’ve even had moments where I am so full of liquid, because I miscalculated and drank too much water, that I feel I am over-filled and drinking more of anything would be a negative.
Psalm 42:2 connects “thirst” to God. The Psalmist writes “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” We need to ask ourselves “do we thirst for God?” Going to the example of the hot day above, do we feel parched and in need of God to quench that parched feeling? Do our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our lives feel the need to be quenched by the grace that comes from God? Do we ever feel “satiated” as if we’ve had enough of God, or do we continually desire more of Him?
Health care experts have long weighed in on the need to drink water to maintain health and vitality. Some say that we should take half our body weight and drink that number in ounces of water each day. In other words, there is a prescribed healthy dose for what we should drink each day.
Spiritual health experts also prescribe the need to drink in God’s love through prayer each day. Though there isn’t a prescribed amount of prayer required for a healthy soul, it is certainly more than a passing thought.
I know some physically healthy people who set an alarm to remind them to drink water throughout the day. Spiritually healthy people have an “internal” alarm which brings them into a state of prayer throughout the day.
When people don’t have water for several hours, they don’t need someone to remind them to get a drink. They feel thirsty, as well as potentially lethargic and light-headed. They go eagerly to satisfy their thirst and bring back a sense of balance. People who thirst for God, when they don’t communicate with Him for many hours, they don’t need to be reminded. They feel a spiritual thirst and quickly go to prayer, to be with God, to restore the balance in their souls.
Ideally our souls thirst for God often. The good disciple can’t get enough of God, he always thirsts for more. The good disciple seeks to know God on a deeper and deeper level. The good disciple also does not get scared as he or she gets older. Rather there is a joy that comes from knowing that the hour when they will “come and behold the face of God” comes closer and closer with each passing day.
Many healthy people measure out an amount of water every day and carry it around in a water bottle, making sure that by the end of the day, they have consumed what is in the water bottle. When they have consumed the water they packed, they can rest assured that they have taken in a healthy portion of liquid. Their lives, their organs, their fluid levels, stay healthy and in balance.
Spiritually healthy people have a set way to pray each day—they offer some prayer in the morning, some in the evening, and some throughout the day. They have a plan to go to God in prayer throughout the day. When they have sat with God in prayer at intervals throughout the day, they can rest assured that they have taken in a healthy portion of God each day. Their lives, their hearts, their souls, stay spiritually healthy and in proper spiritual balance.
Out of the depths I cry to Thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice! Let Thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If Thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all His iniquities. Psalm 130
Drink in God throughout the day with a healthy amount of prayer. All of this begins when we feel a thirst for God!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
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.
Photo Credit: Faith Steps Journey
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