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
“The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Good morning, Prayer Team!
For peace in the whole world, the stability of the holy churches of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Peace in the world begins with peace with ourselves. This is why the services of the church call on us to pray first for peace for ourselves. But this is not where the prayer ends. Not only must we be motivated to seek peace for ourselves and salvation for our souls, we must work for peace in the whole world. In order to do this, we must seek to be peacemakers, instead of peace-takers. There are certain people who, when they walk into a room, the room “lights up.” And there are certain people who, when they walk into a room, it seems like a tenseness and a stress enters with them. WE have the ability to choose which kind of person we will be, a “light up the room” person, or a “stress out the room” kind of person. Peace in the world emanates from each person’s choice to be a peacemaker or a peace-taker.
The church can’t be a vehicle for peace if is it at war, or unstable. So, as we pray for peace in the world, we pray also for the stability of the holy churches of God, not ONLY our Orthodox Church, but any church that is seeking to spread the Word of God in an authentic and appropriate way.
Finally, the Psalms tell us “behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” (Psalm 133:1) We should grieve that the many Christian churches are divided rather than united. Can the churches ever be united? Into one body, perhaps not. But can churches express a unity of faith and purpose and offer meaningful contribution to the world? Most definitely, yes. While we should always pray for the unity of the churches, rather than their continued division, we should also pray that churches come together for common good deeds that benefit our world.
Lord, help me be a peacemaker in the world. Take away impulses I have to take peace from others. Help me unite in purpose with those around me, that I may be someone who is a uniter, rather than a divider. Help me to exhibit self-control, and to radiate Your light in every room I walk into. Bless all churches and all those who belong to them. Help our collective churches to be beacons of Your Light, bringing peace into every corner of the world, whether it be across the globe or across the street. Amen.
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