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, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2
One of the best things about encouraging others is that it is something we can all do. Everyone has the ability to be an encourager. For some it is natural. For others it is learned. Even if encouragement doesn’t come naturally do you, it is something you can easily learn. You don’t need a college degree. You don’t need to invest any money, or own a home, or be famous, well-read or articular. To be an “encourager” requires heart, patience and interest.
Encouraging is something that comes more naturally to some people than others. Some lack experience, and some are just not in the habit yet. Encouragement is something we can all do, and for those who are already doing it, something we can all do even better. It takes a conscious choice and consistency.
One Sunday in church, I encouraged everyone to send at least one “encouraging” text message to a different person every day this week. I told them not to expect to get a text back. I asked them not to do it for any other reason than a one-way expression of encouragement you are giving as a gift to someone. Many people reported that they had received positive responses. Those who were texted felt good. And those who had sent the text felt good. It was a win-win for everyone.
One week, I did an experiment. I sent ten moms in my parish a text which read “You are a great mom!” and sent ten dads in my parish a text which read “You are a great dad!” I even had copied and pasted the same message so I sent twenty text messages in literally two minutes. And I got nearly 20 positive responses. Giving a message of encouragement is actually one of the easiest things a person can do.
Here is another great thing about encouragement—you don’t have to be old in order to send a message to a young person. You can’t be too young to send an encouraging message to an older person. Anyone can send encouragement to pretty much anyone. It’s really that easy.
They say that to acquire a new habit takes 30 days. I encourage you to send out an encouraging text to someone every day this week. It will take you a minute or less. And after this week, see if you can make this a habit for the next month.
Of course, we know that text messaging isn’t the only way to encourage. It’s convenient though. We will discuss many others ways to encourage others, as well as what to say and what to do as we go along.
We know that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor. And one of the easiest ways to love your neighbor is to encourage your neighbor. Because encouragement brings joy and builds confidence. Discouragement steals joy and erodes confidence. It distracts and causes doubt as well.
Remember encouragement is something we can all do. All it takes is a loving heart, interest and consistency.
Lord, thank You for the gift of today. As I go through the day today, help me to see the good in people. Help me to seize on what is good in others rather than focusing only on flaws. Help me to have the discipline to be an encourager, and to make encouraging others a daily habit, starting today. Amen.
Send an encouraging text message to at least one person today!
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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