Role of the Spirit
16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
I have been personally reflecting on these verses recently, though this may sound basic —
One of the greatest hindrances to our prayer life may be a lack of perseverance. Oftentimes people quit praying too soon. We feel that since we have asked, our answer should immediately be forthcoming or our need should quickly be met. God is not a bellhop, waiting to give us just what we want the moment we ask. We often have to exercise patience and continue praying.
All Orthodox Christians are given the Holy Spirit to seal their relationship to God, and it is He who counsels believers how to pray. (Romans 8:26) We have the idea that we need to come to God only when we have a need. However, prayer is about intimacy. If God gave us whatever we wanted as soon as we asked, we would not be able to understand the dynamic of our relationship — we might never learn important skills like patience or dependence. Think of Paul, who tells us that he implored three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed before God gave a firm answer of no. (2 Corinthians 12:8) How long had Paul begged for relief? When we have been praying for a long time about something, and don’t feel as if our words are going anywhere, that is not the time to quit. We have to pray through those situations. God is listening attentively to our cries, and His Spirit is our constant companion — even when we cannot “feel” His presence or involvement. Instead of ceasing to pray, will you call on the Holy Spirit to aid you in persevering?
Pray without ceasing! 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Let us pause to pray as we work though our Nativity Fast and contemplate the Birth of our Lord and God and King:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Almighty God, Fountain of All that is Good, we thank you for your mercy and kindness, and we bless your Holy Name.
We ask your protection and your favor upon our families, our loved ones, our Church, and us.
Make us, Lord, people of prayer. Help us to talk to you and communicate all our needs to you, knowing that you are our loving parent who will provide for us and care for us always.
Lord, Help us to wait upon you, to hear from you first!
Bless and strengthen each of us in our ministries and walk with us in the path you have set out for us that we might know we do not walk alone.
Help us to grow more spiritual each day, coming closer to you and loving you with a boundless love. Help us to complete our daily prayers.
Fill us, Lord, with your own love for us, that our hearts may overflow until we bring that love to all with whom we come into contact.
Bless the world with peace, and help us to make a notable difference.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, unto the ages of ages. Amen.