Greetings in the name of God who fills us with the Spirit of Jesus!
What is most needed in our world and in our lives right now? That’s an important question to ponder for followers of Jesus who desire to be the light and to be channels of hope and blessing in the world. What is most needed? If we answered that question in one word the answer could surely be love! The call to love God and love our neighbour comes through the whole story of the Bible. To truly love, and to truly be loved, is life changing and world transforming! We all need love and always will. Love sums up the whole story of God.
The apostle Paul reminds the first century followers of Jesus of the power of love in our lives and relationships.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,but rather, serve one another humbly in love.14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
Paul desires that we live in the freedom of God’s love! As he continues to write his letter to the Galatians he calls the church to be filled with and led by the Spirit of Jesus. Paul knows what will happen if the Holy Spirit fills us and takes control of our lives. The Spirit will set us free and will produce fruit in our lives that has the potential to fill the world with love! And with light, hope, joy, peace and so much more! Paul writes:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The invitation and call is ours to hear and follow. Live by the Spirit! Keep in step with the Spirit! Let the Spirit produce its fruit in our lives! It will transform us and the world around us!
Prayer is one way we can keep in step with God’s Spirit as we seek to live in the freedom of the way of Jesus. The Breath prayer, prayed to the rhythm of our breath, is one prayer practice that may help us receive the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit.
Below is a Breath Prayer written by Sheridan Voysey (slightly adapted) and based on the words of Galatians 5:22-26. The prayer invites us to receive what is so needed in our lives and in the world right now, and to also release what can be so destructive to our personal and community wellbeing.
Invite the Spirit to bring you to a quiet inner place, then begin praying each line of this prayer breathing in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds more.
Pray the first stanza slowly breathing in, and the second stanza slowly breathing out.
Lord God, fill me with your Spirit.
I receive your love, and release my insecurity
I receive your joy, and release my unhappiness
I receive your peace, and release my anxiety/fear
I receive your patience, and release my impulsiveness
I receive your kindness, and release my insensitivity
I receive your goodness, and release my wrongdoing
I receive your faithfulness, and release my disloyalty
I receive your gentleness, and release my severity
I receive your self-control, and release my self-indulgence
Lord God, fill me with your Spirit!
Pray this prayer daily, or a few times each day. Adapt it and make it your own. Or use one line as a shorter breath prayer breathed many times through your day. Let’s do what we can to allow God to fill our lives, our homes, our community and the world with the nourishing and sustaining fruit of the Holy Spirit of Jesus!
We can only share with others what we have first received ourselves as a gift from God. When we release all that hinders the fruit of the Spirit we are freed to receive and share even more of God’s good gifts! Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are so needed in our world right!