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
“Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’” Deuteronomy 4:9-10
Good morning Prayer Team!
This week, I’ll address a couple more topics on the reading of Scripture from summer camp. I am home from camp, and I thank you for your prayers. I enjoyed two successful weeks of camp. Let us offer continued prayers for the remaining weeks of summer camp, not only here in the Metropolis of Atlanta but for Orthodox camping programs across the country which are still in session.
One of the disappointing things I learned at camp was that the experience of our children reading the Bible is for the most part limited to what they hear read in church, if they get there on time. Very few of our children read the Bible on a daily, or even weekly basis. Where is this behavior learned? I would guess it is learned in the home. Parents who read the Bible to their children, and parents who read the Bible themselves each day, are more likely to have children who grow up reading the Bible. Parents who do not read to their children or who do not read the Bible themselves, are more likely to have children who grow up not reading the Bible.
The charge to inspire our children to become avid readers of the Bible will come first and foremost, not from the priest or from Sunday school, but from their own parents and grandparents. These are the people whom a child interacts with on the most frequent basis, who have the greatest influence on a child learning anything and any kind of behavior.
Again, an incentive to read the Bible is not just for your own personal growth but for the spiritual growth of your children. If you are not in the habit of reading the Bible to your children and they are of age where they like having you read, begin incorporating Bible reading into your daily reading time. If your child is old enough to read, buy a children’s Bible. Buy a Bible with lots of pictures. There are Bibles that resemble comic books, where each page and each scene is animated. As they get older, buy them an adult Bible, something they can begin reading and then have throughout their lives.
Most important, read the Bible in front of them. Have your kids ever seen you read the Bible? Have they ever walked in on you when you are down on your knees praying? It is important for your children to know that you are not only imparting information to them, but you are encouraging them to do things that you do yourself. Some of you who read the Prayer Team do not have children, or no longer have dependent children. Think about those who you do have an influence on, and start setting a good example for others with prayer and reading of Scripture.
Lord, thank You for the gift of a new week. In my busy schedule, help me stick to a routine of prayer and Scripture reading. Help me to encourage my children (or grandchildren, or others who you have influence on) to become avid readers of Scripture. Give me the wisdom to inspire them. Amen.
Set a good example today!
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