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
Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with Godliness. 2 Peter 1:5-6
Good morning Prayer Team!
I remember a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where Yoda was training Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi Knight. And Luke was complaining about how hard it was. Yoda was encouraging him. And Luke said he would “try.” And Yoda responded, “Try, not! Do, or do not! There is no try!”
If you were describing your prayer life, would you use the word “try,” as in “I try to pray”? Because sometimes we “try” and “fail.”
I don’t “try” to brush my teeth every day. I don’t “try” to say goodbye to my wife and son each morning. These are things that I DO. I NEVER leave the house without brushing my teeth. I NEVER leave the house without saying goodbye to my family. And I should NEVER leave my house without offering a prayer to my LORD.
Ideally, prayer is as consistent as other things we are doing in our life. If you are having a hard time remembering to pray, there are different ways you can remind yourself. One way is the “pillow-rock” method. Put something on your pillow—a small rock, a book, a stuffed animal—and when you go to get into bed each night, you will have to move that object, and that will remind you to pray. Put that object on the floor, so that when you wake up, you will have to make sure to avoid stepping on it. As you reach to move the object back to your pillow, it will again be a reminder for you to pray in the morning.
A Catholic priest whose sermons I enjoy listening to says “No Bible. No Breakfast.” And “No Bible. No Bed.” This is a reminder that as automatic as eating and sleeping are, Bible reading and prayer should be as well. I can’t sit down to eat without thanking God for the food in front of me. I used to “try” to remember. Now, it’s automatic. I can’t get out of bed in the morning without making the sign of the cross and thanking God for the day. Sometimes it’s only that, my prayer time is a little bit later, but it’s consistent. NEVER do my feet “hit the floor” without me offering a short prayer of thanks to God. And NEVER do my feet leave the floor at night without me offering a short prayer of thanks for the day that has passed. I have passed the “try” stage on these and am in the “do” stage.
I’m still “working” on the longer prayer time each day. I’m still in the “try” stage. But I am moving toward the “do” stage on this as well and I hope that you are as well.
Challenge for today: Identify one additional place where prayer can fit in your life—first thing in the morning, last thing at night, when you get in the car, as you sit at your computer—find one more place where a short prayer can fit in and begin a new habit of prayer in one additional spot.
Lord, thank You for the gift of prayer that You have given to us. Help me to find joy in prayer. Inspire me to make prayer a consistent part of my life. Speak to my heart of its importance. Surround me with people who will encourage me to pray. Help me to understand the things I still need to understand when it comes to prayer. Help me to know that my prayers are heard. Amen.
When it comes to prayer today, try not, do YES!
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