“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” – James 4:8
We stand at the beginning of a season we celebrate every year in the Church calendar. Yet it comes and goes often without making any change in our lives. Sometimes, though, it can come like a tsunami and turn our world upside down.
Let us step into this 10 days of prayer, between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, as a time to thank our sovereign God that by the death of Jesus on the cross we have direct access into the presence of the Father, who longs for us to come and spend time with Him.
Today, Christ is interceding for His Church at the right hand of the Father. Think what this means for us.
Set aside some time to consider the incredible access we have: we are able to join Him in interceding for ourselves and our Church. Think about the Holy Spirit, ushering you into His presence and making a place for you to enter that inner sanctuary where Father, Son and Holy Spirit commune. What a privilege and delight.
-God may do a new and deep work of great magnitude within our spirits.
-we may come each day with open minds and hearts to receive all that God would speak into our lives through His Holy Spirit.
-we may become more Christ-like and reflect His light in our daily Christian walk.
-our hearts may be prepared through this season of prayer to seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
-we would desire passionately to know the mind of God in all our ministries and when planning new Parish activities.
-God would change us from an inward-looking Parish to one looking outwards, reaching out in love. May we demonstrate in genuine love our care for others and share Jesus with them.
Pray that we may glorify God in everything.
Make yourself comfortable and take time to reflect on the devotions, do not rush through them. Look for Jesus in them. That is precisely the work of the Holy Spirit. To point us to Jesus.
Take time to think on those things that are lovely and true and pure, because we believe that God is desperately trying to get our attention to prepare us for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit in the days to come.
Pray that Church be the Light and the Salt, that God has called it to be,
“Behold! I make all things new” – Revelation 21:5
In the book of Acts, the disciples spent ten days in prayer and waiting on God, from Christ’s Ascension to Pentecost. Jesus had called them to wait in Jerusalem until they were given power from on high (Acts 1:8). When God’s Holy Spirit was poured out on them at Pentecost, their lives were transformed, and they were given power and boldness to live and preach the Gospel. A new chapter in the history of God’s people was opened.
Come, let us also wait on the Lord. Let us make the most of these ten days of prayer to meditate on the new covenant that God has made with us. Let us give the Holy Spirit complete and perfect access to our hearts, holding nothing back. In this, we shall indeed receive the full blessing of Pentecost. Carve time out of your busyness and self-sufficient tendencies to fill your heart and soul with His truth. Expect and long to walk away from these times on fire with love for Christ, full of joy in God, so the watching world may see Jesus and follow Him. Perhaps you will leave behind you a trail of others on fire for Him, changing the world and preparing us all for the return of Christ.
Pray that this Pentecost we will see a new chapter open up in the spiritual life of our Community, and in the lives of all who join us in prayer and meditation.
Prayer: O Lord, who have mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. (Ambrose of Milan, c 339-97)
Day 1: 26th May – Thursday
The Holy Spirit and the New Covenant
Under the Old Covenant, Israel failed to keep their commitment to obey God’s laws and to have no other gods besides Him. God is always one step ahead. He made a new covenant with His people in which He undertook to help us live in obedience to Him. While the Old Covenant was sealed with the blood of an animal, the New Covenant has been sealed with the blood of Jesus.
Under the New Covenant, God has promised to put His Spirit within us so that we would obey His laws and keep His commandments,
to make us new in Christ Jesus;
to have a new relationship with God; to renew our spirits;
to give us new hearts of love; to give us new desires;
to enable us increasingly to obey His Law and Commandments.
We invite you to prayerfully meditate on the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. May we hold nothing back from Him. May He draw us into His guidance and enable us to do away with all the old sinful things and grow in the likeness of Christ.
The sense of transformation and the Spirit at work will begin at once. The visible transformation may come immediately as we commit to Christ, or it may take some time to let go of old habits, speech and
thought patterns, remnants of a former, Christless existence. With our hands outstretched and willing to receive, the Holy Spirit will pour into our hands all we need to make us more Christlike day by day.
Points for prayer:
- Take some time to tell the Lord what you love about him.
- Ask Him to show you areas in your life where he wants you to turn from sin and grow in the likeness of Christ. Ask him for strength and help to hold nothing
- Pray for our church family at St Andrew’s, for the Lord to grow
us in holiness together.
Day 2: 27th May – Friday The Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit?
He is the third person in the Trinity. Our triune God is one in essence but plural in personalities. There is only one God, but in Him, there are three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
Jesus assured His followers that although He was leaving them, He would not leave them as orphans but would instead send another person as a Helper, Friend, and Counsellor. This person would be with them as He had been, and He would also be in them. Jesus was sending them a Person—not a thing, not a magical power, not a charm. This Person was the Holy Spirit.
Let us be reminded that the Holy Spirit is NOT simply a force or influence, as many believe. He is the very breath of God. Like the wind, although invisible he has great power. He is all-knowing, ever-present, and all-powerful.
The Spirit is Enabler and Helper. When He fills and lives within a believer, He enables that person to be and do what God wants them to be and do. He enables us to walk in God’s ways and to be holy as God is holy. He is our sufficiency and strength and without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
The Holy Spirit’s purpose is not to draw attention to Himself but to glorify Christ through our lives. His ongoing ministry in our lives conforms us into the image of Christ. As we are changed by the Spirit from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), the life of Christ is manifested in and through us so that the world may be drawn to Him.
Points for the prayer:
- Thank the Lord for sending His Spirit as a Helper, Friend, and Counsellor for us. Take time to dwell on each of these
- Ask Him to show you where he has been strengthening you this week, and give
- Pray about areas in your life where you need more of his strength and
Day 3: 28th May – Saturday The Holy Spirit Regenerates
“If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold all things have become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Let us pause and consider how the Holy Spirit gives us new life (regeneration). In order to grasp the wonder and joy of this, let us first look back to the old things.
“We were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1); physically alive but spiritually dead.
We were all under condemnation, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Our sin has earned us the wages of death (Romans 6:23a).
We were outside the Covenant and without God and without hope (Ephesians 2:12).
Having our hearts darkened and blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4), we closed our hearts to God’s words of love to us, inviting us to leave behind our old lives and to turn to Him in repentance and seek His forgiveness.
Think for a moment about this incredible truth. God is rich in mercy. Think about this mercy and what it is and what it means more than 2000 years later for you and me.
He loves us with everlasting love. What kind of love is this that did not leave us to die in our sins? He sent His Son to take upon Himself the judgment and punishment our sins deserve. Jesus came to die our death so that we might through His death and resurrection die to self and live a new life in Him.
To know Jesus fully and experience abundant life, we must be born from above (John 3:5) and be made new by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we are just spectators, watching God at work in others, but not knowing Him ourselves.
By receiving the Holy Spirit, we are now able to have a relationship with God in Christ Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to repentance and to faith in Jesus. When we invite Jesus into our lives as our personal Lord and Saviour, He comes in and dwells in us by the Holy Spirit.
Points for the prayer:
- Read again the paragraph about God’s everlasting Take
time to meditate on His love and praise Him.
- How has the Spirit given you new life over the past year? Give thanks to Him and confess your ongoing need for
- Ask the Lord to bring to your mind 3 friends who don’t know
Christ. Pray for the Spirit to give them new life.
- Pray for the Spirit to bring new life in our services
Day 4: 29th May – Sunday
The Holy Spirit lives in the believer (Revelation 3:20)
“Be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18
To be “filled with the Spirit” is never presented in the Holy Scriptures as an option. It is, in fact, a command by the One to whom we owe our allegiance. And so we must obey.
There is no set of rules to follow to achieve this. There is one way and one way alone to be filled with the Spirit of God. That requires us to empty ourselves, of everything, even our very selves, completely and allow Him to fill us to the point of overflowing.
To live the Christian life in which God delights, we need to live a life filled with the Spirit. Sadly, experience shows that we do not always remain filled with the Spirit. As Padre Iggulden would say, we are “leaking vessels” and we may grieve the Holy Spirit with our pride and unrepentant ways. Being filled with the Spirit is a continuous process of dying to self and acknowledging our need to repent and receive forgiveness and direction from Christ.
God gave us the Holy Spirit because He knows that it is not possible for us to live the Christian life in our own strength. The Christian life is a supernatural life and we need supernatural help to live it. As Jesus says in John 15:5, “without Me you can do nothing”.
God alone works in us the desire to do His will, to do what pleases Him. The Holy Spirit helps us work it out in our lives (Eph 2:12,13; Hebrews 13:21). When we know the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, and allow
Him to work in us deeply, completely and fully, old things will pass away and all things will become new. We will have new desires, new perspectives, new direction for our lives, a new understanding of God’s word and new power to share the love of God with others, like those first disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2).
Jesus poured out His life on the cross so that His resurrection love and power may be poured into us by His Holy Spirit. He held nothing back but gave all of Himself. How much of ourselves have we given Him?
Points for the prayer:
- Reflect prayerfully on these thoughts:
- “If our identity is in our work, rather than Christ, success will go to our heads, and failure will go to our ” (Dr Tim Keller) Where do you feel proud of success, or despairing over failure? Lay these areas of your life before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to take control.
- “To empty yourself means to have an absolute openness to God…. What part of you needs to be unloaded?” (Witness Lee) In what part of your life have you not ‘unloaded’ or surrendered all to Jesus? Give this over to
- Pray for the life of our Church and Diocese to be fully surrendered to the Holy Nothing is impossible for God!
Day 5: 30th May – Monday The Holy Spirit sanctifies us
“In sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:2
‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’ Leviticus 19:2
From the very moment when the believer submits to the Lordship of Christ, the Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification in their life.
To be sanctified means to be made holy. The Greek word for ‘holy’ is
haggis. This translates literally as “being set apart for sacred use”.
Let us ask ourselves if our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The first temple, with its priesthood, vessels and implements of service, was anointed and set apart for God’s service. Have you and I been anointed by the Holy Spirit and set apart for God’s sacred use?
For this is the command for the believer: to be set apart from the world and its corruption and live for God alone. God wants us to take our direction from Him alone. We do not belong to ourselves. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we consciously embrace the truth that we belong to God, and think of the price He paid for us, then deep within our being will spring an unquenchable desire to live in obedience to His commandments and do those things that please Him (Hebrews 13:21). Nothing else will satisfy.
The Spirit of God is continually shaping our minds to be like the mind of Christ, helping us to grow into His character and keep His Law. However, our minds are being constantly corrupted by evil thoughts as we engage with the world in which we live. Too often we submit to the thinking of the world instead of the Way of Jesus. The Holy Spirit works tirelessly to make us conscious and sensitive to this corruption, so that we would return and ask the Lord to cleanse us by His precious blood (1 John 1:9).
Cleansed, we find ourselves in an oasis—a place of glorious fresh water in the desert of the world. There is our renewed fellowship with God blossoms as the Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s promises and hope. Sanctification is, therefore, a continual process of cleansing and being restored by our patient and loving God. His purpose is to bring us to close communion with Himself. Each time we ask for cleansing, we are restored to fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Points for the prayer:
- Our hearts and minds are constantly Come again to the Lord in humble confession and seeking His cleansing. Praise Him for His patience, grace, and forgiveness in Christ.
- We have been set apart for God’s sacred Ask God to show
you how he wants to use you this week. Note what comes to mind.
- Pray for 3 people you meet often who don’t know the Lord. Ask Him to show them the beauty, the truth, and the Lordship of
Day 6: 31st May – Tuesday
The Spirit strengthens and builds up the Body of Christ
How glorious is that moment when Christ’s life fills us as we proclaim in faith that Jesus is Lord! At that moment we are “born again” and adopted by the Father into His family as sons and daughters. Then we become heirs of the kingdom of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14,16,17). We are unified by the Spirit into the body of Christ under the Headship of our Lord, and we become members of each other (Romans 12: 5).
We are united, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and then this too: while there is unity in the body, there is also diversity. Each member has a unique personality and has a different function. We are called to different ministries but we all have one calling: to do the will of God, to know Jesus personally and to make Him .
To help us fulfil our calling, God has woven into the core of our beings natural talents. In addition, the Spirt of God breathes on us spiritual gifts (Romans 12, Ephesians 4) to enable us to face the challenges of the distinct places where he has called us.
With the enabling help of the Holy Spirit, and image of God on our being, God calls us to use these gifts in love for the building up of God’s people. He wants us to look out for those who are struggling, to reach out and give God’s strength, encouragement, and hope to them. The result will be a loving, united, Spirit-empowered body of believers who together show the world around us the love and saving grace of Jesus, so that by our lives we may draw people to Jesus.
Christ’s promise to us is that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. This strengthens our belief that by the Holy Spirit’s help, we will be enabled to produce the nine-fold fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
What are our natural God-given talents and our spiritual gifts? How are we using them to build up the weaker members and for the extension of God’s kingdom on earth? If we are unable to identify our talents or the use of them, it is time to ask God to show us these by His Holy Spirit and then put them to use in God’s service.
Points for the prayer:
- What are your natural God-given talents and your spiritual gifts? How are you using them to build up the weaker members and for the extension of God’s kingdom on earth? If you are unable to identify your talents or the use of them, it is time to ask God to show you these by His Holy Spirit and then put them to use in God’s Respond prayerfully before God.
- Have you contributed to disunity in the Church? Confess this sin before God and ask for power to go and seek forgiveness from
- Pray for true, joyful, Christ-centred unity at St Andrew’s.
Day 7: 1st June – Wednesday
The Spirit empowers us for Witness
Although, after His Resurrection, Jesus breathed His life into the disciples saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 20:28), He later commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until they received power to be His witnesses—to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the world. (Acts 1:8)
As they waited in obedience in that Upper Room, praying and praising God, on the day of Pentecost there was a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power and love. Even as we read about it, our hearts, swell with joy at the thought of the coming of the Holy Spirit. That day in that Upper Room, they were amazingly transformed from a small fearful group of 120 disciples into a dynamic community who openly began to spread the Good News of salvation through faith in Jesus. They soon became known for their love and care freely given as freely as they received it from the Holy Spirit. (Matt 10:8).
As the Apostles dedicated their lives “continually to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4), the word of God spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem and beyond. 3000 were saved the first day when Peter preached his first sermon after being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and believers were added daily to the Church (Acts 2:47).
Throughout the book of Acts, we see the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the believers, empowering them and using them in the expansion of the Church as they moved out in obedience to His leading. It was as they lived in complete surrender to the will of God that they boldly
spoke the gospel (with signs and wonders) although it meant risking imprisonment, persecution and even death.
The Holy Spirit is still active as He was in the days of the early church. When His ability and our availability combine, we can also move out in faith and power and turn our world upside down for Jesus. Are you ready to see a new, vibrant? on-fire Church rise from the ashes of complacency.
Think of the pews around you on a Sunday. What would it be like to have 3000 new members join us at one time and then others added as they came to Jesus! The first Pentecost began in the Upper Room. Can we pray that we will see another Pentecost in our midst bringing with it new believers to fill the empty pews and plant churches beyond. God did it once, He can do it again. Let’s pray and believe Him for it!
Points for the prayer:
- Praise God that He has been building His Church around the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Lahore and beyond, that many from all backgrounds will come to new life in Jesus Christ and that St Andrew’s and other churches will be full and
- Pray again for those 3 friends who don’t know Jesus, that they may
know the power of his forgiveness and hope.
Day 8: 2nd June – Thursday
The Holy Spirit Illuminates our minds
“…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth… He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14
The Holy Spirit’s work is to open our minds to understand the truths of the Word of God. He enables us to grasp and experience and apply God’s truth to our Christian life, and to know the true fear of God and so begin a journey towards wisdom.
Without Him, we cannot understand the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned. The Holy Spirit, who knows the deep things of God, reveals them to us. (1 Cor 2:10, 14).
The Holy Spirit’s work is to make known to us the will of God as revealed in the Word of God. On this journey of revelation there is also a renewal of our minds, as we learn to have the mind of Christ and to obey God’s commandments.
As we bend to His will, and give up our own control over ourselves, the Holy Spirit will work deeply and fully in our spirits. He creates in us a sensitivity to the things of God so we know His voice, listening as He speaks through His Word, through circumstances and through people. It is then that we will begin to recognize and respond to the Spirit’s leading in our spirit, learning each day to know the difference between His prompts to do something and His checks to refrain from a particular course of action.
Come, bow down and surrender, promising your allegiance to the Holy Spirit’s teaching and guidance. Here we will find no disappointment. Here we will find how to apply God’s Word to our lives, growing in Christ that He may be formed in us.
And our church will grow from strength to strength, serving our neighbours and loving them with the love of Christ.
Points for the prayer:
- Praise God once more that He gives us the precious gift of His Holy Spirit to guide us into all Come again and surrender yourself, promising your allegiance to His teaching and guidance.
- Ask the Lord to bless the leaders of St Andrew’s—the bishop and pastors, the council, the ministry leaders—that all will be surrendered to earnestly seeking God’s will and
- Pray for the Lord to move us out into ministry that will serve our neighbours with the love of Christ.
Day 9 – 3rd June – Friday The Spirit intercedes for us
“Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” Ephesians 6:18
Words are simply not enough! We cannot impress God with fancy words. We cannot reach the heart of God in prayer without the Spirit’s help.
First, we are to pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 3:18), then we are to pray according to God’s will (1 John 5:14) and thirdly, if we want God to hear our prayer, we are to be righteous and without sin in God’s sight (James 5:16b, Psalm 66:18).
Has the Spirit of God challenged you about being willing to follow His leading and touch the heart of God in prayer?
The Holy Spirit convicts us of any sin in our lives that will prevent our prayers reaching the heart of God, leading us to confess that sin and receive cleansing in the blood of Jesus. (1 John 1:9). The prayers of a righteous man are effective (James 5:14).
Have you ever experienced times when the Lord has placed a particular person or situation on your heart to pray for them? At such times, although we may not know what to pray and how to pray, when we ask Him to lead and guide us in praying for that person or situation, the Holy Spirit comes quickly to our help, praying in and through us with the same anguish we feel. He presents our prayers to the Father according to His will (Rom 8:26-27). Be encouraged that this anguish is
God at work! It is God breaking into a situation, in a way more powerful than our human understanding can do, and so we become channels of prayer and help in mysterious and wonderful ways that change people and situations, bringing joy in place of despair.
Just as the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray for another’s burden, so He guides us to pray for our own anxieties, by committing them to God by making our requests known to Him in Spirit-guided prayer according to the will of God. We can then thank God, believing He has heard us and will answer us. Knowing this, we can trust the Holy Spirit to give us the peace that protects our hearts and minds from all fear and anxiety. (Philippians 4:6,7)
Let us continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
Points for the prayer:
- Praise God that the Holy Spirit amazingly works through our prayers, guides us as we pray, and takes our prayers to make them effective before the
- Ask the Spirit to guide you as you pray. If you feel he is putting a particular person or situation on your heart, call out to him in prayer for that.
- Ask the Lord to make us praying people, praying families and a praying
Day 10: 4th June – Saturday
These past ten days have been spent reflecting on some of the many incredible and life-giving ways in which the Holy Spirit works in the lives of God’s people. He does this that we may experience His presence with us, to help us keep our commitment to God under the New Covenant. On this final day of this 10-day season of prayer, we will reflect on what we have learned, and seek to prepare for what God wants to do among us in the future.
How has the Holy Spirit spoken to you and how have you responded? In what ways have you sought His help actively and enthusiastically, in making all things new in your life?
Acts 5:32 tells us that “the Spirit is given to those who obey Him” and Romans 8:9c says that “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Do you sense the critical importance of this? Do we or do we not have the Spirit of Christ? It is a question with only two answers: ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is no answer ‘in-between’.
Do you have certainty about your salvation and eternal life? Have you invited Jesus into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour? If not, then you are strongly urged to do so now. Go to your pastor or a praying friend who can take you to the Pastor, but do not let this go. Do not hide in the shadows of shame and fear. Come out into the light and let the Body of Christ, into which you can be grafted and united, embrace you and make you its own.
Have you been stirred in the depths of your heart to change your lifestyle? Have you wondered about how to bring God into every area in your life, living according to His will?
Have you sought to know His mind and will for you by spending more time in His Word and in prayer?
Ask the Holy Spirit to shine His searchlight on your hearts, and seek out any secret sins, so you can confess them to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness and for cleansing in His blood (1 John 1:9).
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Ps: 139:23, 24.
Prayer: Let us conclude this season of prayer by praying as Jesus prayed in His High Priestly Prayer:
That we may share in His glory;
that we may be one with Him and with other believers;
that while we are in the world, but not of the world, we will be kept by His grace;
that other will believe because we share the gospel with them, and so spend eternity with Him.