Go Do It


Person on a tightrope
"Tightrope 1" by Tom à la rue is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.

The night before His passion, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked His disciples to “watch” with Him. He didn’t ask them to do anything, just to be with Him so He wouldn’t be alone. Unfortunately, this proved difficult for them and they fell asleep. Jesus was scared. And even more than scared, He was lonely. He had told His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death, remain here and watch” (Matthew 26:38). He knew the burden He was going to carry and He knew He would carry it alone. His prayer was so sorrowful that the Bible says that He was in “agony” and that “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Luke 23:44). In the midst of all this sorrow, the Bible also says that an angel from heaven appeared to Him, and it gave Him great strength. I’ve seen depictions of this scene in paintings and icons. Some depictions show the angel sitting and speaking with Jesus. Other depictions show the angel embracing Jesus like a mother embraces her child. In all the depictions we can see how Jesus is strengthened by the encouragement He is receiving.

I believe that God brings “angels” into our lives. Some of these angels are the bodiless powers that surround each person, the angels we read about in the Bible. We also know that God works through people. When we look after other people, when we encourage them, we take on an almost angelic role for them. When we allow God to work through us to strengthen others, we take on the role of the angels for one another.

I am thankful to God, and I will always be thankful to God for people He has put into my life who are sources of encouragement. There are times in my life when I feel down and discouraged, when I doubt my own abilities to do basic things that I am good at doing, even things I enjoy doing can become stressful. There have been times when I have felt paralyzed with fear of failure. And an encouraging word from someone has many times been the factor in lifting my spirits and restoring my confidence.

By God’s grace, I had the joy of directing our Metropolis summer camp for many years. It is a ministry I truly enjoy. One year, I went up to camp and on the day the staff arrived for training, when all the preparation was over and the moment of truth had arrived, I found myself paralyzed with fear. I had done as much preparation as I could do, and I was prepared as well as I could be prepared. And yet when the time came to execute not only what I was planning to do but what I was looking forward to doing, I was literally sick to my stomach with nerves. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think straight. My mind felt like a convoluted mess and my mouth felt like it was full of cotton, like I couldn’t even get my words out.

As we were about to begin our staff training, I received a three-word text from a friend back home, who knew that I was starting staff training but who actually had no idea that I was so stressed out. The text said “Go do it.” That’s it. Three words.

However, those words said a lot more to me. They said to me:

“You’ve got this.”

“You are going to do great.”

“I believe in you.”

“I trust you.”

“I’ve got your back.”

“God is not going to let you down.”

“Go do it with God’s help.”

I felt almost like a shot of energy coarse through my body. I felt like God took over my mind and my body. The fog in my mind lifted. My words came out clear. And I had a great day. God did that for me. But it was the encouragement of a friend who reminded me that God was going to walk with me. It was encouragement that reminded me I was not alone. It was encouragement that quieted the voices of doubt and distraction and replaced them with voices of confidence. A three-word text caused one of the most powerful “God-moments” of my life. That is the power of encouragement.

The good news is that we can all be the person who sends the text and who says the words that create powerful and empowering moments for others who need them. We can all be an angel to someone who is need, whose soul is sorrowful, and who needs to be lifted up and encouraged. The challenge is to recognize the importance of encouragement and the crucial role we play in offering it to others.

We all become discouraged when we look at the landscape of our society. We sometimes feel hopeless and wonder, what can I possibly do to make a difference? Well, encouragement is a need we all have. And when you build up others through encouragement, you become part of the solution, and not part of the problem. If a day comes when everyone is a voice of encouragement, then there will be no more problems. God doesn’t expect us to solve all of the problems of the world, just to do our part in our corner. And something we can all do is offer encouragement.

I want to thank you for your prayers and your encouragement. Both are vital to the success of the Prayer Team. Your encouragement provides much of the inspiration behind my thoughts and writings. Today’s prayer is my prayer for you, the priestly benediction of Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace!

Whatever challenge you face today, GO DO IT! GO DO IT WITH GOD!

To Him be the glory to the ages of ages. Amen.


+Fr. Stavros


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

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 multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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