Leo and Mary Ruth Smith

Leo and Mary Ruth Smith

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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.”

Fourth of July!Fourth of July!

Fourth of July!  If ever there is a summer celebration, it is this day when patriotism, vacations, and perfect outdoor weather coincide.  I’ll do my walk early this morning to avoid crowded roads and beaches.  The air will be ripe with the scent of hamburgers and hot dogs grilling, steaks over hot coals, damp potato chips and coleslaw.  I’ll hear children squealing in the surf, throwing bits of bun to seagulls, shouting as they run up and down the beach.  Tonight there will be fireworks that split the darkness and shower sparks of living color.  So much to celebrate, so many reasons to be grateful.  We are a free country, a freedom dearly bought and purchased with the death and sacrifices of those who defended her.  In the same way, I am free from sin and the permanence of death, a freedom purchased by the blood and death of Jesus Christ.  What reason to celebrate!  Lord, I come to your Sacramental Table to remember your sacrifice and to honor the anniversary of this occasion.  Please help me never forget my reason to celebrate freedom and the price you paid.