Come, Holy Spirit
Andrew Horner of Centennial, CO, USA
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:8-9
At the beginning of Sunday school class, our pastor invited us to spend some time in silence. As I focused on my breathing, I fell into the spiritual practice I’d been trying to follow for several months: breathe in on earth, breathe out as heaven. Breathe in; breathe out-on earth, as heaven; on earth, as heaven.
The practice was not going well, though. A different phrase kept intruding: Come, Holy Spirit. I struggled to return to the phrases I’d committed to: on earth, as heaven. Why couldn’t I stick with that?
“Okay, have it your way,” I said, finally giving in. Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Breathing in. Breathing out. Come, Holy Spirit. Those words slowly took me to a different place, a place where I recognized that even those sanctified words of scripture, “on earth as heaven,” were not serving me well.
Or, perhaps more accurately, I was not serving them well.
I had been laying my own agenda on top of them-my view of how earth will be transformed when those words come true. I knew how I wanted God’s commonwealth on earth to look, and I was trying to transmit those ideas to God in prayer. What I was not doing was listening for what God was trying to transmit to me.
Now I’m not opposed to agendas. Everyone has an agenda. Even persons who say they don’t have an agenda have the agenda of wanting you to believe they don’t have one. The church has an agenda called the Mission Initiatives. There is nothing wrong with having an agenda.
But my time in silence with the Holy Spirit is a time that I need to let go of my agenda and simply receive the Spirit’s gifts.
“… the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
Breathing God’s Compassion
Pay attention to your breathing and let it become calmer and deeper as you focus on God’s presence. Ask God to breathe in you. Imagine each breath carrying the light of God into your lungs, bloodstream, and every cell in your body until God’s Spirit fills you. Now imagine breathing out God’s compassion and grace each time you exhale, especially into places and situations in need of loving care. Give thanks to the Spirit, source of every breath, source of life.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.