Helen Carter

Helen Carter

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Sharing the IslandSharing the Island

   I began my walk this morning when a neighbor waved to me.  She is going through a very difficult time; she confessed that her life seems without value and meaning.  As we walked and talked, I could feel her despair and pain.  It would be wonderful to think my words or my company “cured” her, but I know that’s not the case.  The causes of her difficulties, the problems themselves, still exist.  However, I do believe that God can use a simple, random meeting for His good.  What may seem random can be purposeful, intentional in God’s plan.  In an email later that afternoon, my friend talked about our shared time.  She walked on feeling less alone, feeling she had shared pain but experienced a healing, feeling God’s touch upon her, even during a quiet walk.  Each of us is on a walk, O Lord, a walk that sometimes is slowed by pain, by grief, by doubts.  Help us find your chosen companions on these walks, and help us to be just such a companion to others.

Breath of GodBreath of God

Prayer about the Holy Spirit

Dear Heavenly Father, as a child I was afraid of suffocating. My older sister would come up behind me, covering my nose and mouth with her hands, watching me squirm and squeal. I was a reluctant swimmer, cautious about putting my head under water, always fearful I’d drown. Even now, I get panicky when I have a head cold, lying awake, monitoring my breathing.

What about those suffering from COVID-19 and the symptoms they may experience?. Problems with breathing, loss of oxygen in their blood, and the need for supplementary oxygen. Some even undergo intubation so a ventilator can breathe for them. How terrifying it must be to lose the very breath of life!

Lord, You have given us a ventilator that infuses us with Your breath–the Holy Spirit. This is Your true presence, filling us with Your purpose and love. In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was a rush of wind, inflating the souls of the disciples, giving them the gifts of language to speak Christ’s message. I crave that same spiritual fulfillment so I too can speak more effectively of Your love. Now, more than ever, I am gasping for Your presence—fearful, weak, alone.

I recognize , Lord, there are those suffering from a spiritual virus. They may choose to wear symbolic masks of doubt and rejection, closing themselves to Your life-affirming Spirit. Some experience spiritual hypo-ventilation, the failure to breathe in the breath of God. Reluctant to accept the gift of God’s inspiration, choosing to live lives apart from God, they never appreciate Your gifts of love and hope, Your promise of salvation.

During these crucial times, Lord, we need Your Holy Spirit more than ever. Just as virus patients may require supplementary assistance in breathing, we too need the support and the vitality Your breath provides. Because we can’t gather to reinforce one another’s faith, it is more important than ever we seek Your supply of the Holy Spirit. Studying the Bible, especially verses like the 23rd Psalm, provide comfort, linking us with the Holy Spirit. Connecting with one another by whatever means possible provides the spiritual ‘oxygen’ our souls require. And most of all, prayer is the ‘ventilator’ of spiritual connection. When we pray, deeply and honestly, we can find an infusion of Your spirit, giving us the strength and courage to carry on, no matter how overwhelmed we may feel.

This is the time to inhale deeply, to fill ourselves with Your blessed Spirit.

I remember the lines of one of my favorite hymns:

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew

that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.”