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
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses from the Bible
Cast all of your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you. I Peter 5:7
Good morning Prayer Team!
My dad passed away in June of 2014. I had visited him May 28-30. When I left, we had no idea how long he had to live. We knew the end was coming, we just didn’t know when. On June 4 (I remember the day), dad suddenly took a turn for the better. First, it made me wonder, did we have it all wrong? Was he going to get better? The second, it sent me into a panic. I was scheduled to leave for summer camp on July 4. All these thoughts raced through my head about how was I going to go to camp if dad was still sick, and what if he died while I was at camp, and what if he died just before, and how would I get to the forty days if he died very soon. I had no idea what was going to happen between June 4 and July 4, and it was giving me a cause to panic.
I’m sure we’ve all had experienced where our head is swimming with all these things and we wonder “how will I ever get it all done?” My particular instance was about the end of my dad’s life. Yours might be related to family or work or something else.
I remember going into the altar and kneeling in front of the altar table on the morning of June 4, and just surrendering it to God. My prayer was simple. “Lord, please help me to ‘touch all the bases,’” to do all the things that I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to go to camp, and if my dad passed, I wanted to be able to be in California for a little while with my family, and I also wanted to go back for his forty day memorial. I remember praying to the Lord, “I’m not sure how it’s all going to get done, so please have things happen in Your time and in Your way, just please allow me to ‘touch all the bases.’” As I offered this prayer, I surrendered it all to God. This is not something that is easy for me to do. I’ve been known to be a little bit of a “control freakJ.” However, I really left it at the altar, and went back to my work, preparing for summer camp and doing my normal job. We even went on a couple of family day trips.
God answered my prayer. Dad passed on June 16, which gave me about 8 days to go to California, and another 10 days to prepare for camp, then to camp for a few weeks and then back to California for the 40 day memorial. He allowed me to do it all. He lined it all up perfectly. I was obviously sad that my dad passed away. But even in this sadness, God brought me joy because He allowed me to do all the things I wanted to do. I felt His comforting Hand on my life even in the midst of sorrow and stress. And now, years later, as I look back at that month of my life, I look back at it with great conviction of faith, because I know that He walked it with me. Or maybe better said, He led me through it.
The advice for today is that we all (myself especially) need to get better at surrendering things to God. Instead of telling God the order we want to touch the bases, we should be more willing to leave the order to Him, just asking Him to help us touch them all in His way and in His time.
Do you believe that God cares about you? If not, why bother being part of the Prayer Team or offering a prayer? Certainly, there are periods when we wonder if God cares for us, especially when times are difficult and things are going right. If we believe that God cares for us, we should feel comfortable casting our anxieties before Him, knowing and trusting that He will walk with us in the difficult times and help us negotiate the challenges of life.
In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” It is a challenge to trust God, that His ways and our ways don’t always match. That’s where faith comes in. I find, however, that when I trust God and give Him the controls (again, hard to do), that He helps me touch all the bases. When I keep the controls, that’s when I’m more likely to miss one.
Lord, thank You for Your many blessings. In my busy life, help me to touch all the bases, in a way that is pleasing to You. Help me to juggle all of my responsibilities efficiently and joyfully. May I give glory to You in all the tasks I am doing today. Amen.
May God help you touch all of the bases in your life this week!
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: Unlocking the Bible
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