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
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6:34
Good morning Prayer Team!
There is no doubt that life can get overwhelming at times, especially when we look too far ahead. I don’t believe in not planning for the future. That is short-sighted and irresponsible. If you want to retire one day, you need to be saving from now. However, an obsession with the future doesn’t put us at our best today. It’s the same with obsession with our past. I once heard an expression, “If you have one eye on the future and one eye on the past, you’ll miss today.”
Today is what we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed. We have today! If your yesterday was bad, make today better. If you made mistakes yesterday, try to fix them today. If you sinned yesterday, repent today. And if you have persistent guilt about things that have happened in the past, go see a priest for confession. Confession is great for helping to get rid of past guilt.
We each need to focus on today. We need to focus on the possibilities of today in our work, and to focus on the challenges of today in prayer. I remember when our son was a newborn, I wasn’t thinking about college, or high school, or him taking care of me when I get old. I was thinking about him eating, pooping and sleeping. Those were the needs of his newborn life. His set of needs, and mine as well, have changed over the years. However, my approach to them remains the same—“Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
There are three things I try to offer in prayer when I get up each morning. First, I thank God for at least five things. Secondly, I pray to God to intercede for others—my family, my parishioners, a few friends. And third, I supplicate God to safeguard my life and to give me the things I will need to get through the day.
When I think of the needs of the day, the needs are usually similar—Stamina (strength to get through the day), wisdom (to make good decisions), safety (because I’m in the car on a daily basis at least for my commute), patience (because I struggle with that), and joy (because I want to have some joy in every day). These are the needs of a particular day. Some days there might be more specific needs, like if I am anxious about something. Or if there is a particular challenge I want God to bless. But on the average day, I pray for five things.
I don’t pray about retirement, or my son getting into college, on a daily basis. I figure if my daily prayers are answered—if I’m wise, safe, patient, and have joy—then things like retirement and college will come about in their own time.
Another lesson I’ve learned in life, I guess you could say “the hard way”, is the many things that we worry about today won’t matter even a day from now, let alone a week or a month or a year from now. So another helpful hint when you feel anxious about something, ask yourself will this matter next week or next month or next year. And if the answer is no, then don’t give over to anxiety about it. If it WILL matter, that’s another story. If it rains today and I can’t mow the lawn, I may be annoyed about that, but it won’t matter a week from now. If my favorite sports team loses, it doesn’t really affect my life at all—it doesn’t affect my job, my salary, my friendships—so I don’t worry about sports outcomes. Yes, I am a fan. But I am not a fanatic.
As Jesus said, “sufficient for today is its own worries.” So, focus on praying for what you need TODAY today, and don’t be anxious about the things that won’t matter tomorrow. If we have one eye on yesterday and one on tomorrow, we will miss the opportunities of today.
Lord, thank You for the gift of another day. Thank You for (list five things for which you are thankful). Lord, I offer prayers for (list at least five people you wish to pray for). And Lord, I ask for Your help today with (list five things which you need help with today). Amen.
Focus on the needs, the opportunities and the joys of today!
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: Linda’s Bible Study
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