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
Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Get wisdom; get insight.
Proverbs 4: 5-6
Today is known in modern society as “Black Friday.” I’m not sure if that is because all of our houses will be dark, as we are out shopping, or if it’s because all the stores will be open before dawn, or if it’s the day that retailers hope to be “in the black” by doing a brisk business. It probably should be called “broke Friday” as it is a day that many will spend or overspend on gifts for Christmas, adding gifts for themselves along the way. Sadly, “black Friday” is now creeping into Thanksgiving Day itself. Where stores used to open early in the morning, it then became at midnight and now it’s even Thanksgiving in the evening. It seems that we are very quick to move on from Thanksgiving to gift-giving and self-giving.
It is really important, on today of all days, to not forget what you did just yesterday. We probably won’t forget the food, since we’ll probably be eating it as leftovers for a few days. But will you remember to pray before eating? Will you repeat yesterday’s challenge and have everyone offer something they are thankful for? Can you make the time to contact five more people to thank them for being part of your life?
Do you know that it is oftentimes harder to say “Thank you” than “I love you”? The reason is that the words “I love you” can fall out of our mouths as easy as saying “Good morning.” However, in order to thank someone, you actually have to think about what you are thankful for. Thanking others should be part of our daily lives. However, we often forget to thank the ones closest to us. Do we think to thank a husband for going to work every day, or just complain when he comes home late? Do we remember thank a wife for doing laundry, or only remind her when it needs to be done? Do we thank our children when they do their homework without being told, or do we only complain when they aren’t doing it? It is really important to thank those who are close to us for the things, large and small, that they do for us. It is not only important, but the encouragement will motivate them to repeat the behaviors we like.
Today’s challenge is to say a word of thanks specifically to your spouse, your children, and your parents. Thank them for not only the extraordinary things they do, but recognize the “mundane” things as well. Thank them for food or clothes, or for going to work, or for doing the laundry.
And for those who are shopping, here are two suggestions: First, when stuck in traffic in the mall parking lots, thank God that you have a car to ride in, and pray for the hundreds of unknown people around you, that God will bless them, for them to have health and joy. Second, as you are wondering what to buy for people, ask the Lord to enlighten your mind and guide you to the things that He knows they need, so that you buy meaningful and purposeful gifts for family and friends.
Thank Your Lord for the gift of my family (remember the names of your family members). Bless each of them. Help our relationships to grow ever closer. Help us to forgive easily when we annoy one another. Give us many opportunities to rejoice together. Inspire us to pray together and to pray for one another. Amen.
Thank your family today!