Pentecost Sunday

On this day we recall and celebrate the coming of the Spirit on the disciples and on us. Below you will find reflections and prayers for every day of the week. There is so much we could say about the Spirit. We will take seven different aspects of the work of the Spirit and see how they relate to our own lives. They are not in any particular order. All are equally important.

Sunday / Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday

The Giver of Life
In the Genesis story of creation, God breathes life into Adam. The word for breath and Spirit are, in Hebrew, the same feminine word: ruach. Just as the breath of God gave life to Adam so the Spirit does the same for each of us. The Spirit desires to give birth to new life in us where we are, as we are. What does that mean into practice? Lots of people during this pandemic have spoken about how the lockdown has helped them re-order and re-evaluate their lives. They talk about trying to live in a different, more balanced way in the future so that life is richer and fuller. New life. We have all known times when we seem to have turned a corner and have realised life has changed for the better. Sometimes that happens suddenly, sometimes gradually. Either way, it’s new life. The Spirit moves in endless different ways to bring us what Jesus promised, that we “may have life in all its fullness”.

Ponder and Pray: What gives you new life? You might like to think back over recent days and bring to mind when you have discovered new insights, energy, a lifting of the heart. (take your time over this) Thank the Lord in your own words for those times and pray that the Spirit will give you new life today. If life is tough and it is hard to see new life, pray that the Spirit will grant you the life you seek.

Pray: for those who mourn and for all those who are finding it hard to cope with things, that the Spirit will grant them new life.

Prayer for the week:

You might like to say (or sing) this prayer to the Spirit every day this week:

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me,
Spirit of the living God
Fall afresh on me.

The Re-Orderer

The very first mention of the Spirit occurs in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible.

In the great and very beautiful poem of creation in Genesis chapter 1, we hear that the earth was formless and desolate and “the Spirit moved over the deep.” (Genesis 1:2) Have you ever felt that life was so chaotic and out of control that you wondered just how it could be brought back into some sort of order, of harmony? Well, if so, this verse is for you because at the time this poem was put together, “the deep” means “chaos”. The Spirit moves over the chaos bringing forth order. Many of us have been tidying gardens and clearing out cupboards over the lockdown, perhaps feeling that it was a good time to bring a new sense of order into our homes. Pentecost is a great time to pray that the Spirit will do the same for our inner lives.

Ponder and pray: Is there any area in your life that you feel needs the touch of the Spirit to bring it into harmony? (take your time over this)

Pray: for all those whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic that the Spirit will grant them a sense of harmony and peace.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

The Guide
One of the words we use a lot in church circles is “discernment”. We might reword this as “making choices” – something we all have to do in big or small ways throughout our lives. There are those big choices which we make, like getting married, changing career or moving home but there are also the choices we make every day. The Spirit is the one who helps us to discern what to do and how to do it. There are some helpful questions which will help us in this choosing process -what would Jesus want? Is this choice going to help build up my life and the life of those around me? Does it feel right – what is my inner voice telling me? (There is a very handy guide to making good choices in the Bishops Conference book on spirituality called Do you Love Me? pages 80-81). Of course, we don’t always get it quite right but even then the Spirit guides us and leads us so much so that we often look back on what seemed a “wrong” choice only to see how we have grown as a result!

Ponder and pray: think about the big and small choices you have made (take your time over this). Ask the Spirit to always help you to discern what is the right course of action to take in all the choices you make.

Pray: for all those in positions of authority and power that the Spirit will guide them to make the right choices.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

The Teacher

Jesus said that when the Spirit of truth comes the Spirit “will guide you into all truth”. The Spirit is the great revealer of the truth; the one who teaches us the things of Christ. Good teachers don’t just impart knowledge. For most of us, the teachers we remember with gratitude and affection are the ones who led us into new understanding. These are the teachers that helped us to say, “Oh now I see! The Spirit is that sort of teacher, helping us to see, to perceive and to make our own our faith so we can live a truly Christian life in our world.

Ponder and Pray: What helps you learn more about God? (consider learning in the widest sense of that word), (take your time over this) Pray that the Spirit will always be your best and closest teacher.

Pray: for all teachers; those in our own schools and those who teach at university or in less formal ways.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

The Intercessor
St Paul speaks about the Spirit coming to aid us in our weakness, especially in our prayer. “when we do not know how to pray as we should, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). There are times when it is really difficult to pray or times when it all seems to go dead or times when we simply don’t know how to pray. One of the ways the Spirit works to help us at these times. In fact, all our prayer, whether we find it difficult or not, is made in the context of the Spirit at work within us. The Spirit prays deep within us. It is reassuring to know that when we don’t know what to say or how to express ourselves the Spirit takes hold of that very desire to pray and does the praying for us, as Paul says “interceding for us”.

Ponder and Pray: Look at the picture.

(You might like to sit with your hands in the same position) Sit in silence for a little while if you can. What does your heart want to say? (take your time over this) Give it all to the Spirit who, even if you don’t have the words, prays in you.
Pray: For all those who find it hard to pray. Pray for all members of contemplative communities.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

The Advocate
Jesus said that he will give the disciples (and us) “another Advocate”. An advocate is someone who recommends or supports a cause or a person; someone who pleads the case of another. In other words, the Spirit is on our side, supporting us on our faith journey. In the same passage Jesus goes on to say that the Spirit is “with you, he is in you” so this support comes not from outside but from within. It is the Spirit dwelling within us that is our Advocate.

Ponder and Pray: Are you aware of the Spirit being “on your side”? If so, how do you experience the presence of the Spirit? If not, what might help you become more of the way the Spirit dwells in you. (take your time over this)

Pray: for all advocates supporting others and all those who stand alongside those in need.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

The Spirit is the giver of gifts. Each one of us is unique and each one of us has gifts which the Spirit can and will use. We are not always very good at recognizing these gifts ours let alone appreciating them. Sometimes this reticence is because we are afraid that we will seem proud if we acknowledge what we have. However every single one of us is gifted and to deny our gifts, the things we are good at, is in effect to deny the God who gives them to us. As long as we remember they are gifts and not possessions we can honestly glory in them and use them to the fullest extent.

Ponder and pray: So what are your gifts? What do people say you are good at? (take your time over this) Thank the Lord for what he has given you and ask the Spirit to help you use your gifts wisely and selflessly.

Pray: for all those who have little or no sense of their own worth; for all counsellors, psychiatrists and psychologists.

You may like to say the prayer for the week
Pentecost Sunday 2020