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
Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
Good morning Prayer Team!
We’ve all uttered the phrase “well, if I had it to do my way, I would. . . “
For those of us who have children, if we don’t “utter” it, then we sure think it. If I have it my way, my child will have lots of friends, be successful in all that he does, go to college, make a lot of money, have a wife and kids of his own, and live near me, and we’ll stay close all the days of my life. I was going to write, “will worship the ground I walk on,” but that seems a little over the top, especially since we only worship God. My point is that my “will” for our son is that he has a good life. It is not my will that he has a hard time, or suffers, or cries, or fails, and yet at some point he will do all those things. Actually he will do all of those things at many points. Part of the reason is that as he grows, he will sometimes purposely go against my will for him. And even as he gains knowledge and life experience, he will still not always get things right.
God’s will for us in heaven, as I pointed out last time, is for us to have abundance, and to not have any need. God’s will for our lives on earth is for us to prepare to go to heaven. And we do that by following His commandments, specifically loving one another. He created us out of love. His greatest commandments are to love Him and to love one another. So, His will for us is to do exactly that-to love Him and to love one another. He said in John “By this all men shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Just like I have a will for our son, God has a will for us. Just as I wish my son to have the best in life, so God wishes us to have the best in life. But I want my son to get the best by being a Godly person-I don’t want him to graduate from college by cheating. I don’t want him to make lots of money by stealing. I want him to do those things through honest means. And God is the same way-He wants us to be strong and yet be humble. He wants us to lead but also to serve. He wants us to have abundance, but He also wants us to be charitable. He wants us to have talents, but use them to help our fellow man.
So, as we pray for God’s will to be done “on earth,” let us consider what it is that God wants us to do, and reflect on how we are doing in comparison to what He hopes for us. If God had willed that I have a talent to be something, am I using that talent He gave me? And am I using it for His glory, and to the benefit of my fellow man?
Perhaps the hardest thing to do in life is to trust that God has a plan for our lives. Many times we fail to trust in Him and go about things our own way. This is where our sins come from. Sometimes God’s will is in conflict with our own will. And this is where we need not only obedience to God’s will, but discernment to even recognize that God’s will is.
When in doubt, let love prevail. For this is His specific will for us, that we love one another as He has loved us. In fact, I have heard it said that “sin,” by its most simple definition, is a failure to love. We may not always be able to discern God’s will-this is where prayer comes in, and surrounding ourselves with mature people to talk to. But at a minimum, He will is for us to love one another. As you go about your day today, you may make big strides or your day may be mediocre. But however the day goes, make sure you make a gesture of love towards someone today, because this is something God wills for us on a daily basis. And though love, when we follow God’s will in this regard, we don’t have to wait to get to heaven to experience God’s will as it is in heaven. When we obey God’s will for our life, even our moments on earth can become like small glimpses into heaven.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of another day. Thank You for the many blessings I enjoy in my life. I know that You have called me to something special in my life. I may not always be sure what it is, so please help me to discern Your call for my life. Please help me to better love You and love my neighbor. Help me to do Your will on earth today. Lead me one day to do Your will in heaven. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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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