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
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!
The Lord’s Prayer is the “par excellence” of prayers in the Bible. In teaching us how to pray, the Lord gave us a very simple prayer which covers just about everything there is to cover in a prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is used in almost every Orthodox worship service. We are supposed to use this prayer before meals. It is part of nearly every group of prayers in a prayer book. The prayer is short and simple. Most people in society know it, whether they are Christian or not, and yet this prayer is very powerful and packed with meaning. If we truly understand this prayer and can live by its meaning, it can become very transformative for our lives. So let us examine this prayer in a little closer detail.
Our Father, just these two words, captures the two great commandments. It is amazing, just the power of these two words. First, the word Father. This sets us in relation to God. He is Father. We are His children. We are to love Him as children love their father. He loves and provides for us as a father does for his children. And the first of the two great commandments if to love the Lord Your God. We are to love Him as our Father.
Next to the word OUR. Jesus tells us that we are to pray as brethren, together with our neighbors. This is the second great commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves. In praying OUR Father, even when we are alone, we are remembering our neighbor and enjoining our neighbor in our prayers. We do not pray “my Father,” because God is not a personal achievement or possession. Rather, God is in all and for all. So the cumulative “our” is how best to describe God and to pray to Him. We pray for the good not only of ourselves, but of our neighbor. And if we are enjoining the needs of our neighbor with our own, it will be more difficult to have enmity with the neighbor, because we are praying for his good, even as we are praying for our own.
Lord, our God, thank You for giving us a prayer that we can easily remember, a prayer that includes anything we can possibly pray for. Help me today to remember the great commandments, to put You above all else, and to put my neighbor at equal value to myself. Help me to love You and to love my neighbor more and more each day. Give me the opportunity to help someone today. May I give glory to You today! Amen.
Have a great 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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