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
“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6: 7-8
Good morning Prayer Team!
How long should I pray each time I pray? This is a good question. Prayer does not have to be lengthy in order to be effective. The prayer does not need to be a long prayer, nor does prayer need to be done for a long time. Prayer must be done consistently and must be done joyfully. These are the two ingredients for prayer. We must pray consistently, meaning we must pray often, ideally throughout each day, before and after each event of the day. And we must pray with joy, with faith, with hope. Prayer is not supposed to be a drudgery.
In the Orthodox world, there are prayers that have been composed for almost every occasion one can think of. There are some people who think that prayer should be offered exclusively from what can be found in written form. There are others who shun written prayer as impersonal-they insist that prayer be done only from the heart. Of course, there are days when the mind is distracted and utilizing a prayer from a book has great benefit. There is benefit is “reading” (actually praying) through a series of prayers. But there is also the possibility of tediousness, to just “do” the prayers “to get them done.”
It is most effective to pray in short spurts but to pray often. And these prayers need not be lengthy ones. They can be short, repetitive phrases, designed to focus our minds and hearts on God. Whether before or after driving, before beginning a task, before or after a difficult conversation, bringing Christ into our major challenges allows us to jump over hurdles with more of a sense of purpose and peace. It doesn’t guarantee success, just because you offer a prayer. But prayer offers peace and purpose, and a framework by which we offer up our success as thanks to God and in our failures, we ask God to help us. Today’s prayer are several short phrases that you can say throughout the day, or as you fall asleep at night. Like the song on the radio that plays in our head all day long, allows these prayers to be in your mind throughout the day. Allow them to counteract sinful impulses. Allow them to help you maintain your focus on God, at all times and in all places.
Thank You, Lord.
My Lord, my King and my God.
In You I live and breathe and have my being.
Lord, have mercy.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. (Jesus Prayer)
I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
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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