“Don’t worry. Don’t worry.” Jesus might have told his followers. “Everything’s going to be fine for you when I am gone. I won’t leave you alone. I will send the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, to tell you everything you need to know in order to live as my people.” Such words must have been mysterious to Jesus’ contemporaries. And there is much we do not comprehend, to be sure. But we do have access to that Advocate. We have experiences of the Spirit of God to give us guidance and confidence. Being available to the Spirit, though, is not easy for many frantically busy Christians, Amid the nerve-rattling jangle of contemporary life it is sometimes difficult to discern the refreshing breeze of the Spirit.
An important part of Christian stewardship is to set aside time to be present to the Spirit of God. As difficult as this discipline is for many of us, it is nonetheless essential if we want to avail ourselves of the continuing ministry which Christ offers us through his Advocate. Christians of centuries past (who did not have to contend with 24-hour news networks and road rage) appear to have been more faithful to the disciplines of prayer and meditation than we are. This represents a tremendous loss for us personally, but more importantly, for Christ’s church and its mission.
- When have you been especially aware of Christ’s Advocate in your life?
- What challenges must you overcome in order to claim more time spent in being present to God’s Spirit?
- Christians today are more time conscious than in any prior generation. How might this work against us as we seek to create sacred space for quiet centering, praying, and listening for God?
- How might the church be different if every member lived in awareness of the constant companionship of the Spirit?
- If you are interested in exploring contemporary spirituality, consider forming a group to study Sabbath Time by Tilden Edwards.
- Invite your pastor or another knowledgeable person to speak to a group at your church about the various styles of prayer, including contemplative prayer. These might include breath prayer, meditation on scripture. or guided prayer.
- Covenant to set aside time every day in the coming week to pray for your church and to be present to God’s Spirit. You may find it helpful to pray at the same time each day, but this is not necessary. Some kind of time guideline may be helpful, however, perhaps 15 minutes.