The Little Office of the Birth of the Christian Church for Renewal on Pentecost Sunday Part III: Preparing for 9:00 am

Joe Colletti, PhD,
Society of Urban Monks
June, 2017 

You are encouraged to find an upper room or sacred space for at least one designated time of prayer today to read the passages of scripture below for reflection and prayer in preparation to be renewed by the Holy Spirit tomorrow, Pentecost Sunday.

Be mindful that setting aside such a place for prayerful practice, places you in a tradition of Old and New Testament seekers of intimate experiences with God. 

  •  . . . he (Daniel) went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before (Daniel 6.10).”
  • The LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive (1 Kings 17. 22 – 23).” 
  • “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6.6).”

From ancient times to the present day, designated hours of the day have been set aside for sacred times with God. Nine in the morning (9:00 am) has been set aside by Christians as a sacred time for

  • It was nine in the morning when they crucified Christ, wrote Mark in his gospel (15.25); and 
  • It was nine in the morning when Peter stood up on the Day of Pentecost and declared “the wonders of God (Acts 2.11).”

So, tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday and you are encouraged to make 9:00 am a sacred time with God in an upper room or sacred space and allow yourself to be renewed by the Holy Spirit on this dedicated day to the birth of the Christian Church.

Today, in preparation for tomorrow, read the beginning of the second chapter of Acts and allow time for reflection and prayer. 

1When the day of Pentecost came,
they were all together in one place.
2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews
from every nation under heaven.
6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment,
because each one heard their own language being spoken.
7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?
8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia,
Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and
the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome
11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—
we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another,
“What does this mean?”
13Some, however, made fun of them and said,
“They have had too much wine.”

After some time for reflection and prayer, read the next passage of scripture from chapter 2 and allow for more time for reflection and prayer. 

14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice and addressed the crowd:
“Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem,
let me explain this to you;
listen carefully to what I say.
15These people are not drunk, as you suppose.
It’s only nine in the morning!
16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17"In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved."

So, let today be a time for preparation to be renewed by the Holy Spirit.

Let tomorrow at 9:00 am be the time to allow yourself to be renewed by the Holy Spirit.

At 9:00 am tomorrow, read again the two passages of scripture above and after a time of reflection read the following prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians centuries ago as a special prayer for you to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. After you read this special prayer for you, reflect on what you heard, engage God through prayer, and if you cannot find the words to pray, let the Spirit intercede for you “with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8.26).” 

A Prayer for You to be Renewed by the Holy Spirit 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3. 16-21) 

Again, if you cannot find the words to respond in prayer, let the Spirit intercede for you “with groanings too deep for words.”

______________

The Little Office is comprised of passages of scripture for reading, reflection, and prayer for the three Saturdays before Pentecost Sunday. The passages are framed around hours and periods of time noted in chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Acts.

First Saturday (May 20)

 The first Saturday was May 20 and the passage of scripture for reflection and prayer was Acts 1. 1-11, which focused on the time that Jesus spent with his disciples after the resurrection and right before his Ascension. To read the passage and designate a little time for reflection and prayer click here.

Second Saturday (May 27)

The second Saturday was May 27 and the passage of scripture for reflection and prayer was Acts 1. 12-14, which focused on the times that Jesus’ disciples “joined together constantly in prayer” in the upper room that was “a Sabbath day’s walk from the city (Jerusalem).”

Comments

Many thanks, Joe Colletti, for leading us through this special time of the Ascension, prayerfulness of the Disciples, and the witnessing on Pentecost. Truly humbled to participate with my sisters and brothers in raising our voices collectively tomorrow in a cacophony of praise. May the Spirit descend on our earth at this time when so many desperately need to see the Light. Amen.
May the Spirit descend on our earth at this time when so many desperately need to experience the love of God through their sisters and brothers. Amen.

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