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
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Good morning Prayer Team!
When I was younger and read today’s verse, I used to think primarily of material gain—Please Lord, let me ace this test, or let me win the lottery, or help our soccer team to win today. And perhaps there are still many people who read this verse in this way. As I have gotten older, I rarely ask the Lord for material things. I ask for things like wisdom, patience and efficiency. I still want to ace my tests, but in order to do well on tests, I need a clear head and wisdom. I would love to win the lottery, but I worry more about necessities than luxuries. The Lord has been gracious to me in helping me to have necessities, and then some. How can I go to Him and ask for riches? I ask for sufficiency. And as for winning, I have come to realize that you can’t win everything every time. But you can make a good effort at everything every time. And the good effort is made with focus, wisdom and patience.
Part of every prayer should be praise of God. Part of every prayer should be thanking God. Part of every prayer should be personal repentance—a recognition of the things you have done wrong on a particular day, asking God both for forgiveness, as well as guidance to do better. Prayer should include supplication on behalf of other people. And prayer should include supplication to the Lord for YOUR needs.
Here is the thing with NEEDS. They are different than WANTS. We should go to God with our needs. And while we can go to God with our wants, God only promises to give to us our needs. On a given day, I need basic things like food and shelter. I need safety in travels—rarely a day goes by that I don’t get in a car and go somewhere. I need wisdom—there is never a day that I don’t have to make some decision. I need patience on a daily basis. And with so many responsibilities in my life and with the ever present challenge of finding balance, I pray for focus and efficiency on a daily basis. Of course I ask the Lord to bless my marriage and our child. These are the needs I express on a daily basis.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” In prayer, I try to focus on the present moment, the needs of the day. I look to the future, in terms of asking the Lord for continued good health, for guidance, and ultimately for eternal life. But I try to focus on the needs of today. Because put a lifetime of good “todays” together and you will reach eternal life.
Challenge for today: In prayer today, try to focus on the needs of today, and try to focus on the “non-material” things that you need—like patience, wisdom, stamina, etc.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Please give me the things I need in order to be successful today, in order to grow closer to You today, and in order to give You glory today. Give me safety, stamina, wisdom and patience. Help me to make good decisions. Give me efficiency in my tasks. Help me to bring honor and glory to You in all that I do today! Amen.
Have a God-centered day!
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