Start the Day with Five Thankful Thoughts

Start the Day with Five Thankful Thoughts

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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.
I thank Thee that Thou hast answered me and hast become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech Thee, o Lord! O Lord, we beseech Thee, give us success!
Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and He has given us light.
Psalm 118:21-27
What is the first thought that goes through your head each morning? I confess, that years ago, my first thought was “Darn, the alarm already!” I greeted each day upset. What a way to start each day! Over the years, I have trained my mind to think in a more positive way each day. And now, before my feet hit the floor, I try to bring five positive thoughts to my head, five things for which I am thankful.
I pray “Thank You God for my life. Thank You God for my wife. Thank You for our son. Thank You that I have a roof over my head. Thank You that I have a place to go today.”
When we start the day with thankful thoughts, the thoughts pile up throughout the day. Thank you for the car I am driving. Thank you for the job that I have. Thank You for the food I will eat. Thank You for the people I will encounter.
Starting the day off with thanksgiving causes a chain reaction of thanksgiving throughout the day. Starting the day off with a negative thought about your alarm can start a chain reaction of negativity—darn the alarm, darn the weather, darn my job, darn the traffic, darn the people I work with, etc.
So, start your day off with thanksgiving and let thankful thoughts permeate not only your first thoughts of the day, but your thoughts throughout the day.
The Psalm verse that is quoted in today’s reflection is quoted every day during the Orthros, or Matins service, which is the first service that greets the new day. It combines Psalm 118: 26-27. The hymn says
God is the Lord, and He revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Translation by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)
The first intonation in between the four-time singing of this hymn says “Give thanks to the Lord and call upon His Holy Name.” (Translation by Fr. Seraphim Dedes)
We are reminded liturgically in every morning service that the first thing we are to do is give thanks to the Lord who has shown us the light of a new day.
One way I encourage people to pray is using what I call “The Rule of Five”—five things for which I am thankful, five people for whom you want to pray, and five things that you need today (with an emphasis on today, as opposed to tomorrow or next year). My daily needs include things like safety in travels, efficiency in tasks, wisdom in decision making, patience with people and stamina.
I recently added one thing to this rule of five. And this is a prayer for God to send someone into my path that I can help today. And then I let go and see how God answers that prayer. That person might be someone who lives under my roof, it might be a parishioner, it might be a friend, and on some days it has been a total stranger.
A great way to remember to pray is this simple formula: 5-5-5-1. Five things for which I am thankful, five people for whom I wish to pray, five things I need today, and one person that God will place in my path today who I can help.
Today’s prayer is the “rule of five” which begins with words of thanks.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, I am thankful for (offer this phrase five times, thanking God for something each time).
Lord, please remember (offer this phrase five times, asking God for His blessing on a different person each time).
Lord, please help me today (offer this phrase five times, asking God to meet the needs of today in a different way each time).
Offer this prayer as early in the day as possible. Make a habit of offering it before you get out of bed each morning! 5-5-5-1!

The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! There you may find a database for past prayer team messages as well as books by Fr. Stavros and other information about his work and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.

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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 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