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
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
Good morning Prayer Team!
The first thing I am writing today is a prayer request. I would like for you to keep Fr. Thomas, Pres. Jenny, and Marina in your prayers. Pres. Jenny is battling cancer. Fr. Thomas and Marina are supporting her. These are dear friends, and a wonderful clergy family serving our church. Let us please keep them in our prayers.
The prayer team is something I began eight months ago this week. It is based on an idea I read in Max Lucado’s book, Before Amen. And the first six weeks of reflections were all about prayer. Because we all need a refresher course on prayer often, because it is a challenge for everyone, including me, the next couple of weeks I’m going to again write on prayer.
Today’s verse, from chapter eleven from the Gospel of Luke, follows a chapter that includes the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus speaks to His disciples about the lost sheep and repentance. It is then followed by the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha and the theme of the “needful things.” Jesus then was praying in a certain place. The Gospel doesn’t say if Jesus was praying WITH the disciples, in their presence, or if He had gone by Himself to pray, though we know from the scriptures, that He did both.
But the one of His disciples approached Him, and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Interesting that these men, who had access to Jesus all the time, and presumably could have asked Him for anything, asked Him to teach them to pray. They didn’t ask for wealth or power or fame. They asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Have you ever asked the Lord to teach you to pray? Hopefully we are thanking the Lord in our prayers. Hopefully we are giving glory to His name in prayer. Hopefully we are making an examination of our own conscience when we pray. These are important parts of prayer-worship, thanksgiving and confession of sins. The fourth component of prayer is supplication-this is the part where we get to ask God for things. Sadly, for many people, they only go to the Lord in supplication, when they need something. But even for those who pray regularly, who incorporate worship, thanksgiving and confession into prayer, when it comes to asking for things, we sometimes forget to ask God to help us understand Him better. We forget to ask Him to make us stronger Christians. So, in your supplications in prayer today, ask God to make you a stronger Christian, to give you better understanding of the scriptures, and as the disciples did, ask Him to strengthen your prayer life, to continually teach you how to pray, to lead you to a deeper level of prayer and thus a deeper understanding of Him.
Lord, I praise, bless and worship Your Holy Name. Thank You for the gift of another day, of another week. Thank You for the many blessings I enjoy in my life (list some of them). I pray that I will improve in (name an area of your life where you’d like to improve your behavior) this week. Please be with my family and friends (name people you’d like to pray for). And please Lord be with me. Teach me to pray as You taught Your disciples. Lead me to a greater understanding of You. Lead me to a deeper faith in You. Help me to understand the scriptures. Help me to apply them more fully to my life. I ask this in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Have a great week!
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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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