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
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. Psalm 54:2
Good morning Prayer Team!
If prayer is communication with God, what then should we say in prayer? Before I answer that question, let me share this great piece of advice on prayer—God does not GRADE our prayers. It is important that we pray. It is essential that we pray. One does not need to sound like a priest or a theologian to pray. One need not be eloquent like the prayers of the Liturgy when praying. Open your heart to God and pray.
If you are not sure what to say when you pray, allow me to offer a few humble suggestions. A good prayer includes four elements—giving glory to God, offering thanks, confession and repentance, and supplication.
Giving glory to God can be as simple as our opening salutation in prayer—“Heavenly Father,” “Almighty Lord,” “Dear God,” “Christ our God,” are all examples of giving glory to God in the salutation of prayer.
The first sin committed by mankind was the sin of ingratitude. We were not grateful for all that God had given us in the Garden of Eden and wanted to eat from the forbidden tree. This is one of the reasons we should approach the Lord first with gratitude and thanksgiving. I try to call to mind a few things for which I am thankful every day, first and foremost, the gift of life itself. “Thank You God for another day.” Thank God for the people in your life, for your job, for your car, for your home. Even if you wish you had better, thank God for what you do have.
Repentance is a desire to continually grow closer to God. In order to repent and grow closer, one has to realize that he is at a distance from God. The distance we create between us and the Lord is caused by sin. Sin is fought through confession and repentance. While the sacrament of confession is a more formal listing of our sins and receiving absolution, we should daily bring to mind our sins and pray to the Lord for Him to help us each day to grow closer to Him.
Supplication is where we ask the Lord for things. The first thing we should ask the Lord for is for His will, not necessarily ours, to be done. We should pray for other people—our family, our friends, our priests, our fellow parishioners. We should pray for groups of people—like our civil authorities, those who are sick, those who are struggling in any way. And we should pray for ourselves—for the Lord to guide, guard and help us.
Remember, the Lord does not grade prayers. We do not have to walk on egg-shells when praying. Praying is a release of whatever is in your soul to the Lord. Prayer can be done in joy or in sorrow. So make sure that you pray today. More helpful hints coming this week on this very important part of the Christian life!
Lord, our God, thank You for the gift of this day. Thank You for my family and friends. Thank You that I have a place to go today. Thank You that I have a roof over my head and food to sustain me. Help me to grow closer to You in some way today. Guide my thoughts and help me to make good decisions. Help me to honor You today. Keep all temptation and harm away from me today. Remember ___________(pray for people in your life) and bless them. Be with me today in the tasks that I will undertake. Give me wisdom, patience, efficiency and all the things I will need today. May I honor You in all that I do. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Have a wonderful and prayerful day!
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