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 Lord recompense you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge! Ruth 2:12
Good morning Prayer Team!
Yesterday I wrote about consequences, referencing a sermon called “then what?” Today I take this idea in a different direction. We each make many decisions each day. In fact, an article I once read said that we make about 75 decisions each day, and about 35 of these decisions have at least some far-reaching consequences. Some decisions have virtually no consequences. If I choose to drink water with ice or no ice for lunch, it doesn’t really affect my day either way. But many decisions I make will have an effect on today and far beyond it.
Let’s use the “then what” scenario and apply it to decisions I may make today.
Stay up too late. Then what? I’m too tired at work tomorrow. Then what? I am short tempered with someone. Then what? I wreck a relationship. Proper decision: go to bed at a reasonable hour and get some decent sleep.
Drive too fast. Then what? Get a traffic ticket. Then what? I have to pay a fine and lose an off day going to traffic school. Then what? My child is disappointed because Daddy is not home. Then what? I have to explain to my child why I’m not home. Then what? My child gets the idea that following the law is not necessary. Then what? My child becomes a law-breaker. Proper decision: abide by the law, set a good example.
Spend some time in prayer each morning. Then what? When confronted with crisis, I have already found some peace. Then what? I lean on prayer to make a decision. Then what? With a clear mind and a kind heart, I make good decisions. Then what? I have a great life. Then what? I’m on my way to eternal life.
There are many scenarios that play out in each person’s life each day. Some will play out to good consequences and others to bad consequences. One way to make a decision is to play out the “then what” of each action you are thinking about taking. Play them out to their end. And if it doesn’t play out to a good end, then don’t do it.
One advantage of prayer is that it helps us to plan out our decisions. It helps us slow down and see the consequences of what we are doing. It sets a peace about our minds so that we think with a clear head. Many times we don’t know how the “then what” is going to play out. That’s why before a parish meeting, or hearing a confession, or when beginning a counseling appointment, I pray with the person or group I am meeting with, inviting God to come and stand with us as we make our decisions, as the “then what” plays out.
It is important to ask God to come and stand with you each day, before and as you make the decisions that lead to the “then what” in your life. It is certainly important to think things out before you make decisions. Slowing down and allowing the Lord to be part of the decision making process, through prayer and scripture reading, heads to better decisions and better “then what’s”.
Lord thank You for the mind You have given me that allows me to make decisions and choices each day. Help me to use my mind, in combination with prayer, to make good decisions today, so that the consequences of my decisions help to grow friendships, help people in need and help me grow closer to You. Amen.
Have a great day! And then what? I’ll write to you tomorrow:)
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