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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros 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
Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Good morning Prayer Team!
The hardest phrase of the Lord’s Prayer to pray with meaning is the phrase we examine today-“Thy will be done.” To pray this with sincerity is to give up control of one’s life and place it in the hands of God. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we are robots and have no control whatsoever of our lives. But to ask for God’s will to be done in our lives is both a humble and a heavy thing.
No one knows the future. No one has a crystal ball. I don’t know if today is my last day or if I will live 50 more years. I can say the same for my wife, or for my child. I don’t know if a move is in my future or not. I don’t whether the road ahead of me is going to be an easy one or a difficult one. What I do know is that I want to walk this road as a Christian and I will ask for God’s help each step of the way.
My son asks me for things all the time. And sometimes I grant his requests and sometimes I don’t. If he asks me for French fries every day, I am going to tell him no. It is going to be my will to say no. Because if I let him eat fries every day, even though he is a good boy, even though he loves me and I love him, then he is going to have an unhealthy life. So, sometimes it is my will to tell him no, even though it upsets him. Sometimes God tells us no, even when we are good, even when we pray, even when we believe with all of our hearts.
When God suspends the laws of nature so that something extraordinary can happen, we call that a miracle. Sometimes something bad is about to happen and God intervenes and makes a miracle. Other times it is almost as if He allows something to happen, because He won’t take away our free will to make bad choices, and He won’t take away the free will of others to make bad choices that sometimes affect us.
Again, we are not robots who sit and wait for the will of God to be imposed on us. Rather, we are to live active lives. We are also to see ourselves as our Father’s children. So that if God’s will is in conflict with our own will, we find a way to trust in God, even when things are not as WE wish them to be.
To pray “Thy will be done,” is the ultimate statement of faith and trust in God, because it places our will at His direction and not our own. Many times, when I think of this phrase, I think of the Serenity Prayer. This prayer acknowledges that there are some things we will not be able to change, and some things we will be able to change. It asks God to help us accept what we cannot change, to trust God even when we can’t change our reality. It asks God to help us when change is possible. And it asks God for wisdom to know when to submit and when to work for change. More on God’s will on earth in tomorrow’s message. . .
Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Lord help me to discern what is Your will for me in all times and in all places. Give me peace when Your will conflicts with my ideas. Help me to do what pleases You today. May I seek first Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness, and trust that other blessings will be added to me. (Matthew 6:33) Amen.
Have a great day!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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