I am currently writing a prayer for Pentecost.
(The Day of Pentecost: last Sunday of Easter, also called Whit Sunday. Readings Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104: 26-36; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)
The prayer is to be part of an inspirational brochure to be distributed in parishes on the Day of Pentecost, 31 May 2009. The brochure will also appear on the web and maybe in a shorter version – Tralee! Tralaa! on YouTube! Now, back to the prayer. 🙂
In the Bible we find little warrant for directing prayer to the Holy Spirit. Prayers are to God, the intimacy of ‘Abba, Father’ in Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer (Mark 14:36) and his encouragement to the disciples to pray, ‘Our Father in heaven’ (Mt 6:9). There are some prayers to Jesus Christ in Acts (7:59 of Stephen) and the Epistles (2 Cor 12:8 of Paul; 1 Peter 1:3 of Peter). But there are neither prayers to the Holy Spirit nor examples of people praying to the Holy Spirit, although there is praying by Christians in the Spirit (Eph 6:18) and the Spirit praying in Christians (Rom 8:26). Overwhelmingly, Christian prayer is ‘to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit’.
Graham Cole in a chapter, ‘Ought we to pray to the Holy Spirit?’ in ‘Engaging with the Holy Spirit’, Apollos, England, 2007, concludes (p.72) with these words,
‘Christians may indeed pray to the Spirit. Our God is Triune. … We must not allow (however) systematic theology, working from first principles, to trump biblical theology … That biblical theology shows that the Spirit’s ministry is a floodlight one. … (The Spirit) directs our gaze elsewhere (away from itself) in the adoration of God. In so doing, the practice of prayer to the Father through the Son with the assistance of the Spirit encapsulates the gospel of the one mediator between God and humankind, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for us all and poured out the Holy Spirit on that singular Pentecost so that we might be caught up in the Son’s own communion – as our Lord, Saviour and elder brother in the household of God – with the Father.’
And so to my Pentecost prayer! The current draft, there have been many, opens with the address:
you sent your Holy Spirit
in wind and fire at Pentecost,
empowering the disciples
to proclaim with boldness
the revolution (transforming life) of your love in Christ,
giving birth to your church.
I’ll let you know the final version.