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
For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10
Good morning Prayer Team!
My son once asked me “Daddy, why do we have to have homework? Why can’t we just get all the work done at school?” This is probably every students’ lament. The number one reason that there is homework has to do with repetition. A teacher, for example, will teach the math times tables in school. The student, then, practices the times tables at home doing math problems dozens, if not hundreds, of times, and repetition of the same work eventually causes this knowledge to take root and be stored in the brain permanently, so that it can be recalled throughout life. Repetition is how knowledge becomes embedded in us.
Some things that we have learned we have exhaustive knowledge of. No further learning is needed. I haven’t practiced my times tables since elementary school. Yet, I use multiplication on a daily basis in some fashion. This knowledge was learned through repetition and can now be recalled as needed with no further study.
In most areas though, continuing education is needed and with that, continual homework, even for adults. I’m constantly learning new things about technology, finances, home repair and child rearing. I have the opportunity go to seminars and hear presentations on how to be a better priest. Each thing I learn, however, comes with homework. I can’t hear something in one pass and retain it, or use it effectively. In order to retain anything or to become proficient with something, it takes repetition.
In our Christian life, we are supposed to be reading the Bible on a continual basis. If we’ve read it once, we’re supposed to read it again. Repetition is needed in order to understand Scripture. Practicing what we’ve learned, that’s our homework.
Just like with the times tables, the only way you get better at praying is to pray. The more you pray, the better you will get at it. The same can be said for making sound moral choices. The more practice you get at it, the better you will “play” when the real challenges come.
Just like a student can’t expect to master academic skills without doing some work at home, a Christian can’t expect to become devout if his or her experience of Christ is limited to Sunday mornings. Homework is essential for the student. And homework (prayer and scripture reading at home) is essential for the Christian.
Lord, help me to have better discipline in my spiritual journey. Help me find the discipline to pray and read scripture. Kindle in my heart a love for both. Help me to show mercy, patience and love to my neighbors. Help me to be consistent in my Christian walk. Thank You for Your patience with my many shortcomings. I pray that I will honor You today. Amen.
Do some homework today!
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