Let us pray
As I said in my sermon on Sunday, this time between the Ascension and Pentecost is a time for prayer and for waiting. We’re told in the Acts of the Apostles that after witnessing Jesus being taken from their sight, his closest followers returned to Jerusalem and constantly devoted themselves to prayer. Jesus had clearly told them – ordered them, indeed - to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the promise of the Father.
Praying and waiting – not easy for those of us who are activists and who want to get on with what needs to be done!
But there are tools to help us. Thy Kingdom Come is a global movement that takes place specifically at this time. Its focus is on praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom in the lives of family and friends, neighbours and colleagues. The time and the ways in which people find faith in Christ is down to the unique work of the spirit in their lives. But we’re called to work with the spirit, to discern what God is doing and join in, to be agents through which God can do God’s work. There’s little use in praying Thy Kingdom Come, as we regularly do whenever we pray the Lord’s prayer and then to sit around idle waiting for God to act. That said, it’s not about us. To pray ‘thy kingdom come’ is to say ‘help me to see, Lord, how I might use all that you’ve given to me to play my part and to work with your spirit, that the world may be changed – albeit in some small way – to better reflect your kingdom. Help me to be open enough to allow your spirit to work in me and with me and through me.’
But alongside all that is the willingness to be changed ourselves. This time gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how the world has been and how differently we might want it to be as a result of what we’ve seen and heard and perhaps experienced over these past few months. Many of us long to see a world that is kinder, more generous and more just. Very often, in order for the world to be changed, we ourselves have to be changed – changed in our habits and our attitudes, perhaps changed in what we eat and how we shop, maybe changed in how we spend our time and how we use our money.
This is picked up beautifully in a prayer that came into my inbox this morning from the Ty Mawr community – our Anglican religious community here in Monmouth - who are dedicating these days between Ascension and Pentecost to call on God for healing and new life; to pray (and I quote) for Healing in our World (in its Body – from the sickness of body and spirit, and social and economic relationships) and the coming of New Life in our Community (for new vocations and the renewal of our life of prayer for and with our world)
Their prayer is for the Holy Spirit to move, once more, over the face of this earth and to bring forth the newness of God’s creative love within us, between us and for all of creation. We could join them in these days before Pentecost.
Here is the prayer they offer which will be posted on the Monmouth Diocesan website for anyone to use: a Prayer for the Healing of the World which, of necessity is a prayer that we may change and be changed, in our ways and our attitudes.