Spirit of God, come among us on this Pentecost day.
Make this day a re-birth-day for your people.
Make us passionate in our faith,
strong in our commitment,
courageous beyond our imagining,
and willing to love, and keep on loving, without reservation, we pray.
Send your holy wind among us,
not as a gentle breeze to lull us into relaxation, comfort and complacency
– as people gathered together in some kind of benign social club.
Let it be a wind of fire,
to burn into our hearts a passion for your truth and a desire to share it.
Give us tongues of fire, God,
not to babble incomprehensibly,
but to speak out plainly for justice and fairness:
to be the voices of those in this world made mute because they are downtrodden and oppressed:
to speak the language of peace in a world bombarded by violence and war, arms-deals and greed:
to speak of the grace, bewildering in its simplicity, that sets hearts … and minds … and souls free, through Jesus.
Help us to be ourselves – all that we can be – for you,
and not some kind of cardboard cut-out or advertiser’s dream,
going through the motions of life, and not living in life.
Help us to be for refugees
– people who have often suffered in ways cruel beyond our comprehension,
and who suffer still the terrible nightmares, and the gnawing sense of loss through death,
and separation of their families and friends.
Spirit of Life,
help us never to use mottoes or platitudes to justify national arrogance,
or racial or religious prejudice, or drum-beating patriotism and blinkered mistrust of even one person You’ve created in your own image on this planet Earth.
How can we do such things, and not at the same time be mocking the very life that Jesus lived and gave for us all? Jesus, the loving, healing Prince of Peace.
Don’t let us bind ourselves only to creeds and not to deeds as a church,
for that would mean that we are not your church – we are just another organisation!
Help us to be an accepting, embracing fellowship, not an insular one – and to reach out, not to lock out.
Help us to say “Sorry” more often,
for to kneel before you as individuals at day’s end, without confessing from the heart all that has brought us down, and to simply utter “religious” language, is surely a waste of your time.
And how can we hope to be embraced by you, when we have let the sun set on our anger with others?
How can we go out and preach what we do not practice?
Take away all pride, all jealousy, all judgment, we pray.
Take away that almost insatiable urge some of us might have to be in control of others.
If we seem negative and critical, show us how to be more affirming and accepting and positive.
If we are inclined to be self-obsessed moaners with a “poor-me” attitude to life, give us a better sense of perspective, by opening our eyes and our hearts to the real suffering around us.
Brand us not with denominational names, nor with religious costumes, nor with symbols and relics.
Brand us not with pious looks, nor meaningless mumbo-jumbo.
Like the Apostles of old, brand our very hearts with the flame of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Brand us within with Holy fire,
so that what is outward – our words and our actions – our joy and enthusiasm –
will make it abundantly obvious who we are, and who and what we stand for.
Help us to infect others with contagious joy –
with the love … and the grace … and the promise of life eternal through Jesus.
* * * * * * * * * *
God, let not even one person leave your worship house today,
without feeling the warm stirring of your Spirit within,
without embracing the same determination and passion that fired the Apostles at that first Christian Pentecost celebration,
without recommitting the life you give to your realm.
This prayer was shared during worship at Boronia Church of Christ, Boronia, Victoria, Australia, where David is a member.