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
And in the morning, a great while before day, Jesus rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. Mark 1:35
Good morning Prayer Team!
The older I get, the more I realize that I need God. Sometimes I realize that by choice—I wake up thinking about Him, and think about Him throughout the day. And sometimes I kind of forget about Him, or go through the motions of prayer, and then I find myself greatly humbled, not necessarily in need of answers but in need of the peace and reassurance that can only come from Him.
I recently heard a presentation on prayer where prayer was compared with a magnifying glass. When I was a Boy Scout as a teenager, I learned that I could take a magnifying glass, hold it over wood shavings, and by reflecting the light of the sun, the wood shavings would catch fire. This is how to start a fire without matches, just by reflecting the light of the sun.
The same principle works when trying to reflect the Son of God. In this analogy, the sun is the Son of God. The wood shavings are your soul, and the souls of those around you. The magnifying glass is prayer. When you pray, you set afire your soul with the Light of Christ. When you pray for others, you reflect that Light on them. When you carry yourself as a person of prayer (meaning as a person of peace, who reflects the Light of Christ), you set the souls of others aflame, you show to them the glory of God, even unconsciously.
I hope that you are still praying five minutes a day. But this is not a limit. Nor it is something to just check off. It is a beginning. It is a starting place. I remember back from my Boy Scout days, when you reflect the sun through a magnifying glass onto wood shaving, you don’t start a fire immediately. It takes a little bit of time. You have to hold the magnifying glass still. The bright spot has to stay on the same place on the wood pile. At some point there will be smoke, and only after a little while will you actually get fire.
As you get better at praying, you’ll realize that five minutes isn’t enough to set your soul ablaze, and you’ll want to pray longer and more frequently. Here is a challenge for you: Once a week, plan to go long(er) in your prayers. And perhaps Wednesday is a good day for this. Ideally you are worshipping in church each Sunday, a longer period of time dedicated to prayer. And then mid-week, plan to spend 15 minutes in quiet prayer, as a little “retreat” for yourself. Pray, reflect, open up the Bible and read something, listen to God, and think of the magnifying glass, allow it to stay in the sun long enough to set the wood shavings ablaze. At least once a week, stay in prayer for at least 15 minutes, allow the Son of God to set your heart and soul ablaze.
Challenge for today: Carve out a 15 minute session of prayer today.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in His works. . .
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. . .
May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord. . .
Bless the Lord, o my soul! Praise the Lord!
Psalm 104: 31, 33-35
Reflect God’s Light today!
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