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
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!
No one is perfect but the Lord. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone sins. We sin against our neighbors. And we sin against God. So, in this beautiful Lord’s Prayer that Christ gave to us, there is a mention of trespasses. For even as God give us our “bread” on a “daily” basis, we sin against Him on a daily basis.
Because we sin, we are in need of forgiveness, both from God, and from one another. But forgiveness is not enough. We need even more than that from God. We need a blotting out of our sins, a removal of them from our life record. In the Psalm 130:3-4 we read, “If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You.” So, we count on the Lord not only to not count our iniquities, but to obliterate them altogether.
Here is where our Greek comes in handy again. The Greek word for “forgiveness” is “synhoreses.” The word “Afeseos” means “remission,” or blotting out of our sins. “Afeseos” means to “forgive AND forget.” In Greek, the prayer read “ke afes imin ta ofilimata imon, os ke imis afiemen tis ofiletes imon.” It means “blot out our sins, as we blot out the sins of others.”
We’ll talk about the sins of others in the next column. But let’s talk a little more about “our sins.” In our daily prayers, we are supposed to praise God, thank God, confess our sins to God and supplicate God. The Lord’s Prayer does all four. We should do all four in personal prayer as well, calling to mind specific sins with a prayer of repentance, asking for God’s help to curtail our sinful desires.
Periodically we should come before God in a more formal way, in the presence of a priest, in the sacrament of confession. This sacrament does two things for us-it helps us to take accountability in the presence of someone else, who is there also to guide us toward a plan of repentance. And secondly, through this sacrament, we are given permission to forgive ourselves, to not worry about the sins we have confessed but have no further anxiety about them, departing with a confidence that God has loosed and forgiven our sins, based on a gift that God has given to His Apostles, passed down to His priests.
Again, it is amazing how much ground is covered by this simple prayer-forgiveness, repentance, confession, and ultimately hope in God’s mercies is covered in this verse of prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses.” Of course, it takes faith and humility to come to God in sincere repentance. And this is what we should call to mind, at least once a day-our sins, our need for repentance, a desire for true repentance (improvement in at least one area of our life) and faith in God’s ability to forgive our sins when we come to Him in repentance.
Today’s prayer is the Jesus Prayer. Offer this periodically throughout the day, asking God to not only forgive your sins of the day, but to protect your mind and your mouth so that you can stay away from temptation throughout the day.
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
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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