Then Comes the Holy Spirit
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” -Luke 20:45-47; 21:1-4
Acts 2:2 says, “…there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” As a child in California, I often sat on our lawn, where we had enormous fir trees. I can still close my eyes and hear the gentle breeze through those giant trees.
But there are other “winds.” Recently a strong “wind of darkness” came over me as I agonized over my slow recovery from major surgery. It drove me into a deep, dark cave of depression. I lost all interest in activities that had been second nature to me. My wonderful husband, family, and close friends did everything possible to re-light the fire in my soul, but nothing seemed to help.
Thankfully, we have a loving God who is aware of our struggles. When we are ready to quit, His Spirit urges us on, encouraging and strengthening. It may come in ways we don’t expect-sometimes in gentle whispers. One morning I cried out from the depths of my soul, “God, could you send a little light please?” Suddenly words came to my mind, “Lord, lift me up and let me stand.” A light flickered. I thought, “That’s a hymn!” The words came into my mind loud and clear, a song I have sung since childhood: “Lord, lift me up and help me stand by faith, on heaven’s table land. A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground” (Johnson Oatman Jr., “I’m Pressing on the Upward Way”).
I repeated those words every hour that day, and every day following. Locating a hymnal that contained the hymn brought even more joy to me. The Lord has been so good to me. I feel blessed indeed that He sent His Spirit to lift me up, help me stand again, and lead me into the light.
The Spirit’s presence is available to everyone who reaches out to God. The Spirit will lift each one to bring about unity and joy in times of need and discouragement. That’s His promise: “Lo, I am with you always.”
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).
In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.
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.