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
Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Good morning Prayer Team!
None of us lives in a bubble, but there are sometimes I wish I could. If I could put a bubble around myself and keep out of my bubble all bad things, imagine how life would be. My bubble would be filled with clean air, clean language, purity and goodness, and if the only people who came into my bubble were filled with these things. Imagine if no one disagreed in my bubble. I’d be in peace all the time.
Okay, I awake from my bubble fantasy because no one lives in a bubble. Most people’s lives resemble a delicate dance around a minefield. Deliverance from the minefield comes into my mind on a daily basis, as I pray for the Lord to protect me from the obstacles and keep me away from harm.
While I can’t live in a physical bubble, I can build a spiritual bubble around my soul. I can work hard, in tandem with God, to control my thoughts. I can control my language. I can control whether I gossip, or steal, or lie. I can control whether I see the good in someone or see that bad in them. I can control how disciplined I am in making good decisions, and I can control being sloppy in making poor ones.
What I need most is faith, faith to work in tandem with God to keep a bubble around my soul. I need faith to even understand that I have a soul that needs to be protected. All the other parts of my body can be seen by a tool of medicine. My soul cannot be seen, yet I believe I have one. This takes faith. And the other thing I need is consistency-I need to have faith and discipline and I need these things on a daily basis, maybe even an hourly basis. So the ending of the Lord’s Prayer, in my mind, is a cry to God to have more faith, and to have more consistent faith.
I’m reminded of the story where Jesus heals a young boy possessed with an evil spirit. (Mark 9:14-29) And the boy’s father asks Jesus to heal his son. Jesus tells the father, “All things are possible to him who believes.” And the father cries out “I believe, help my unbelief.” As I finish praying the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from evil” brings to mind “I believe, STRENGTHEN my belief-keep me disciplined and focused and consistent.”
Lord, help me today to be disciplined, focused and consistent. Help me to put away pride and greed. Help me to lessen conflict rather than escalate conflict. Bring peace into my life and help me to be an agent of peace in the lives of others. I believe-Strengthen my belief today. Thank You Lord for the gift of this day. May I glorify You in it! Amen.
Have a disciplined, focused and spiritually consistent day!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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