A HYMN OF GLORY LET US SING (NINETEENTH IN A SERIES)
Think a moment about your daily prayers. To whom do you pray?
The obvious answer would be, “I pray to God, of course.” But press the question a bit further, and you might respond, “I pray to the one true God; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Don’t stop there. Keep riding that train of thought.
In my own case, I often pause before I start praying, and meditate a moment on the astonishing thing that is about to happen: I, a sinful speck of flesh and blood, am about to actually speak to the creator of the universe; the eternal, almighty, holy God; the “I Am” of the Old Testament—and He will be attentive to what I say. Amazing truth! This “meditative pause before prayer” puts me in a right frame of mind. It reminds me of the solemnity of prayer and of the astounding privilege which we—solely for Jesus’ sake—have in being able to directly address God.
Usually, at least in my prayers, my “default” perceptual framework is that I am speaking to God the Father. Somewhat less often, I consciously address my prayers to God the Son—Jesus Christ. Seldom, however, do I address my prayers specifically to God the Holy Spirit. Ironic, isn’t it? It is, after all, God the Holy Spirit Who created saving faith in me in the first place. It is God the Holy Spirit Who day by day sustains that faith, also through the Means of Grace. It is the Holy Spirit Who empowers me to use my gifts in a God-pleasing manner. It is even the Holy Spirit Who helps me to pray. Of the three Persons of the Triune God, it is the Holy Spirit Whom the Bible most directly connects with my day-to-day life as a Christian; and ironically, it is the Holy Spirit about Whom I think least often when my thoughts are upon God.
Hymn 226 in The Lutheran Hymnal is a Pentecost hymn of invocation to the Holy Spirit. It reminds us of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and directs our prayers to the Holy Spirit, petitioning His blessings and guidance. This hymn lists too many blessings of the Holy Spirit for us to enumerate in a one-page article, but consider just the following:
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit guides us in our daily walk as Christians (Galatians 5:25). “Grant our hearts in fullest measure/ Wisdom, counsel, purity,/ That they ever may be seeking/ Only that which pleaseth Thee.” (Verse 2)
The Bible tells us that God’s Word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), and that it was this sword that the Spirit used on the first Pentecost to work repentance in many who heard Peter speak (Acts 2:37). “Show us, Lord, the path of blessing;/ When we trespass on our way,/ Cast, O Lord, our sins behind Thee/ And be with us day by day./ Should we stray, O Lord, recall; [call us back]/ Work repentance when we fall.” (Verse 3)
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit assures us that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). “With our spirit bear Thou witness/ That we are the sons of God” (verse 4) and “And when life’s frail thread is breaking,/ Then assure us more and more,/ As the heirs of life unending,/ Of the glory there in store,/ Glory never yet expressed,/ Glory of the saints at rest” (verse 9).
The Bible tells us that it is the Holy Spirit Who keeps us in the faith to the end (Philippians 1:6). “Guard, O God, our faith forever;/ Let not Satan, death, or shame/ Ever part us from our Savior.” (Verse 8)
Daily guidance, true repentance when we sin, assurance that we are heirs of salvation, and continuance in the saving faith to the end—may these blessings of the Holy Spirit be ours at Pentecost and always.
Craig Owings is a retired teacher and serves as assistant editor of the Lutheran Spokesman. He lives in Cape Coral, Florida.