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” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses of the Bible
Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
Good morning Prayer Team!
Are you overstimulated? Do you check your email before you offer prayers in the morning? Is the radio always on in your car? Are you uncomfortable with silence?
The answer for many of us to all of these questions is YES. Between our social media, texting and multi-tasking, we are “busier” (though not necessarily more productive) than ever and we are “noisier” than ever. However, because most of our communication takes place from behind a computer screen or on a phone, we’ve lost the ability to connect in more personal and authentic ways. Because we are immersed constantly in noise, we’ve forgotten how to be quiet and still. And because we’ve forgotten how to be quiet and still, we’ve started (as a society) to lose our view of God.
In I Kings 19 we read about Elijah hearing the voice of God. Our conception of God, both then and now, is that the Almighty God would speak in a very powerful way. And yet in I Kings 19:11, we read that the word of the Lord came to Elijah and said to him “’Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.’” And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still, small voice.” And the Lord was in the small, still voice.
Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” For just like with Elijah, God is revealed when we are silent and still. I have yet to experience God in a violent and loud scene from a movie. Or in loud music (unless it is the choir singing), or when I’m multi-tasking. I experience God when I am focused on Him. When I am still, this is when I feel closest to God.
At summer camp, we set aside a time each day called “alone with God,” where all activity stops and we sit quietly with God. Every person sits alone with God. And in the stillness and silence, we talk to Him, and we hear Him. Without music blasting in our ears, or our mouths competing for attention or our hands working, our hearts our open to “hear Him.”
This same principle idea works when not at summer camp as well. The advantage of summer camp is that the time is scheduled “for us.” At home, we have to schedule it for ourselves. We spend time sitting with our spouses, with our children and our friends. Sometimes we sit and talk. Sometimes we sit and listen. And sometimes we just sit with them. There isn’t a lot of conversation, we just sit with one another and are happy sharing company, sharing the same space.
The same holds true with God. Sit and talk to God in prayer. Sit and listen to God while reading Scripture. Or just sit with God. I remember reading in a book about how to pray, that the author suggested just sitting in front of an icon of Christ for 10 minutes a day. If we committed to doing this for 30 days, even if we didn’t know how to pray, at some point we’d start the conversation with God, even if only out of curiosity of what would happen. The beautiful thing is that when we come to God in silence and stillness, something does happen. We come to know God. We come to exalt God. We come to know the power of God.
Lord, thank You for the gift of this day. Thank you for all the blessings I have in my life. Help me, in the busy-ness of life to enjoy moments of silence and stillness with You. Speak to my heart in the silence. Help me to know You. Guide me to serve You. May I always exalt You. Amen.
Set aside some time today to “sit with God” and be still.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: I’m My Father’s Daughter
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