Today is a great time begin our nine day journey of prayer in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost. My dear friend, Michael Evans, former bishop of East Anglia, suggested the following way. (Why be Confirmed? CTS 2003)
We pray to renew the grace that we have received when we were confirmed. We pray that the Holy Spirit to come to us in a deeper way. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of Power, and above all the Spirit of Love. He is the deeply personal Spirit of Unity, who brings us closer to God and to each other.
We can use a simple prayer such as “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me”. Alternatively sing or say Veni, Sancte Spiritus. (Come Holy Spirit) – there is a well known setting from the Taizé Community (see below) and a version by the Christopher Walker.
Today and for the next nine days find a time and place where you can be quiet for a few moments. This may be in church, at home, at work or at school. We might go and sit in the to a park, or by the sea or sit under a tree.
Firstly, quieten down for a moment. Relax your body and mind. The focus on our Lord. Perhaps light candle. Look at a cross or icon. Spend a few moments in simple adoration and praise of God. Thank him for being there with you. Lift up your heart to him. Tell him you worship and adore him.
Then ask the Holy Spirit to come to you. Quietly with pause of silent waiting, invite the Spirit into your mind-into your thoughts and memories. Invite him into your body, from head to toe. Invite him into your heart and soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your whole being with God’ own love and peace. Sit there quietly, knowing that God always gives his Holy Spirit when we ask him.
Then invite the Holy Spirit into each member of your family in turn. Ask God to fill with his love your husband or wife, your parents and children, your brothers and sisters, your friends and neighbours. Pray for each of them by name. invite him onto each of your special relationships (with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or you other close friend). Ask him to bless your love with his.
Finally, invite the Spirit to fill your home with his presence. Ask him to come into your home as he did at Pentecost. The finish by praising God once more. Perhaps simple say: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”