Prayer – The Magnet

In the priestly prayer of Jesus in today’s gospel, He said “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Glory refers to very great praise, something that is of great value or weight. So by this prayer, Jesus is saying He has given to the Father what is most valuable to Him. How can we also, as Christians, give to the Father that which is of the highest value? The answer lies in the first reading – by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Why were the apostles and the other disciples in the upper room, devoting themselves to prayer? It’s because they knew they could do very little until they had received the Holy Spirit; it is He who will empower them to do what God expected of them. Jesus, before He began His public ministry, was filled with the Holy Spirit. St. Paul tells us in Romans that “no one can please God in the flesh”. To be able to glorify God on earth like our Master, Jesus Christ, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will help and guide us to do and say things at the right time, at the right place and in the right manner. This is exactly what we see in the life of the early church as we read the pages of Acts of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit sends them to certain places to minister and yet prevents them from entering other cities or towns. The Holy Spirit is the mind of God and therefore when we invite Him to guide us in all our affairs, we’re sure to please God.

The question will then be: how can we be filled with the Holy Spirit just like Jesus or the early church? St. Luke, who is the author of both the Acts of the Apostles and the gospel of Luke, gives us the conducive atmosphere and context that invites the Holy Spirit into our lives. In Luke 3:21-22, we read that “As Jesus had been baptized and was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove…” In our our first reading we see the early church create the same context or atmosphere of prayer as they sought to be filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit: with one accord they devoted themselves to prayer.

Without the atmosphere of prayer around us, we can’t receive this gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit. There was this advert on Duraplast pipes which says “where duraplast goes water flows”. We can use this idea and say “wherever prayer atmosphere is created, the Holy Spirit will flow”. No wonder Jesus said where two or three are gathered in my name I am in their midst. A praying church is a church with the Holy Spirit and the church with the Holy Spirit is the church that glorifies God.
(Acts 1:12-14; Ps. 27; 1 Pet. 4:13-16; Jn. 17:1-11a)


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