Daily Office Readings for Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter: Year 2
“ Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6: 18)
Paul says to “pray in the Spirit.” How do I do that? Do I sit quietly and meditate on what I want God to do? Do I ask the Spirit to pray through me? That has been said by Paul, that it is not we who pray but the Spirit who prays through us. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words. And God, who searches hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God;” (Romans 8: 26 and 27). I think both of these concepts are correct.
It is at least an American tradition to incorporate prayer into events. We have become accustomed to asking someone to pray at meals, or, for the opening or closing of meetings or ceremonies. And we have framed prayer as religious words heard at key points of events. I am normally chosen to perform these prayer duties when I am present, or asked to be present. I think the writers that were read by our early Christian parents encouraged our parents to pray quietly. In fact, we may not have been able to tell when they were praying and when they were not. Prayer is not restricted to Church. Church depends on prayer prayed outside itself.
Prayer, sitting with our Creator and being open to divine instruction, is the most important experience we can have on any day, but more especially on a Sabbath Day like today.
Occasionally however, people need to hear words of adoration to assist them in their spiritual focus. When it’s needed, it should be provided. When audible prayer is needed it should be remembered that what is heard comes from the silent, loving heart of a faithful person. Just as St. Francis said “go out and preach the Gospel and when necessary use words,” I say, pray always, and when necessary use words, words that others may actually hear.
Tomorrow we begin the Season of Pentecost. It is the annual remembering of the Church receiving the Holy Spirit. I pray that the Holy Spirit leads all houses of worship in ways that end the Russian war against Ukraine. I pray for Ukraine both silently and aloud. Please God, help them. I pray that we all keep alert and persevere in supplication for all the saints in Ukraine.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John