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 behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 8:11-12
Good morning Prayer Team!
Years ago, I heard a sermon on prayer, where the speaker was addressing primarily those who do not know how to pray, or those who never pray. He challenged the listeners to commit 10 minutes a day for 30 days of sitting with the Lord. He said that if you made the 30 day commitment, that at some point, even those who never prayed, would say something, as if to say “well, I’ve committed the time, might as well say something, it can’t hurt.”
Same principle here—you’ve committed the time, again, five minutes, with an image of the Lord either in front of you (in an icon) or in your mind. You are sitting with God. So, what do you do when you sit with another person? You talk, AND you listen. So, say “something” to the Lord, and take some time and listen. You might be asking yourself, “what do you mean, ‘listen?’ He’s not going to talk back to me.” Well, you are probably not going to hear an audible voice. When we listen, however, we will hear God. He will reveal Himself in our thoughts, sometimes through other people, sometimes in other ways.
I can’t tell you how many times, when I’m listening to a confession, that God talks to me. I have no idea before the confession begins what is going to be said. And usually many things are said. Before hearing a confession, I always pray to God to bring the most important thoughts the person is sharing to my mind, so that when the person is finished, I can zero in on a topic to discuss that will bring them closer to the Lord. This prayer is always answered. I pray. I listen. I hear the person offering the confession. But more than that I hear God putting “something on my heart,” to say to them, something of comfort to bring to them.
So, as you sit with the Lord, do not only talk. Make sure you listen. Part of prayer should be asking the Lord to speak into your mind and your heart. So, make sure that you are “listening” attentively.
We will speak again in a few days about “listening” when reading scripture—reading the Bible and “hearing” what it says are very important. But for today, sit with God for at least five minutes, speak to God in prayer, and listen for the thoughts He will bring to Your mind and heart.
Challenge for Today: Sit with the Lord for at least five minutes, focus on His image. Empty your mind and let it be filled with thoughts of Him. This will help you to “listen” to God. See what comes to mind when you really focus on Him. Speak a few words of prayer to the Lord. But then sit in silence and “listen.”
Lord, thank You for the gift of this day. Help me to focus on You in prayer today. Speak to my mind and my heart, so that I may know Your will, so that I may receive peace and comfort that come from you. Amen.
Listen to God today!
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