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. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros 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
The OCN family is sending prayers and warmest wishes for a speedy recovery to Fr. Stavros following his surgery. We hope his recovery period finds him steadier, stronger, and healthier with each day.
We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Let your father and mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice. Proverbs 23:25
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
The first thing I want to do is wish all the mother’s on the Prayer Team a Happy Mothers’ Day. Prayers for each of you as you raise your children. There can be no greater responsibility than being in charge of the health and wellbeing of another person. We can mess up a house and get another one. We can mess up a job and get another one. But we can’t get another child than the one we have. So, this job is very stressful. However, no one can give back to you the way a child can. And no legacy is as permanent as the one we leave through our children. They say that a person’s riches are his/her children. I pray that each of you who is a mom will be rich through the blessings of your children. Good strength to you when the going gets tough, and may God always give you wisdom and insight to navigate the hard times and difficult challenges.
The second thing I want to offer today is a word of thanks to everyone on the prayer team who has offered prayers for me these past twelve days. I’m doing well. I’m going to church this morning to celebrate the Liturgy. There are two things I want to say today, based on my experience of this recent surgery.
I have a greater understanding for why we should pray for one another. I know it’s important, I pray for other people, but I finally understand more fully why it is important. Before my surgery, I had received messages of encouragement and prayer from hundreds of people. This was very humbling but also very nice. As I lay on the bed in the hospital, somewhat nervous for what was about to happen, I asked God to bring a calming thought to my mind. And here is the thought that came: I imagined I was running on a dirt track, all alone, trudging along and not very happy. I heard one voice in the stadium shouting “You can do it.” And I was grateful to hear one voice and know that I was not alone. Then I imagined what it would be like to have one hundred voices offering words of encouragement. And then I imagined I was in a huge stadium and it was filled with 100,000 voices screaming encouragement. I was still the only one running around the track but I felt so uplifted with the “voices” of so many that the running didn’t even seem like it was much work.
What God was bringing to my mind was the voices of all the people who were praying for me. You, the prayer team; other friends, people at church, along with the angels and saints. Yes, I was alone on the bed but I wasn’t alone, I was surrounded by the prayers of many people! And the voices of encouragement didn’t just say “You’ve got this,” they said “I’m going to God for YOU, Fr. Stavros!” To know that hundreds of people, in addition to the saints, but to know that hundreds of people that I know were saying “I’m going to God for YOU was really empowering. The prayers were felt! And THIS is why we pray for one another. Because those prayers are felt, and they help, in a real way. Prayer doesn’t necessarily take away challenges but it “lifts up” the people who are going through challenges. So, thank you for your prayers.
As for the second thing I learned, it concerned worship, and that will be the subject of tomorrow’s message. Thank you again, for your prayers. I go to the altar today with much thanksgiving in my heart, to God and to you.
Lord our God, we thank You for Your many blessings. We thank You for the gift of mothers, beginning with our own mother who raised us. We ask that You strengthen each mother. Walk with her in times of challenge. Give her strength to manage all of her tasks. Give each mother joy as she raises her children. Give each of us on the Prayer Team, and those that each of us call to our minds today, health, joy, peace and every good thing that is coming from You. We ask this through the intercession of the Theotokos, the mother of us all. For You are the healer of our souls and bodies, and to You we offer glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Happy Mothers’ Day and thank you all for your prayers!
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.
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