Daily Devotion for May 5, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love. and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
Acts 2:1-13 (NCV)
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise like a strong, blowing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something like flames of fire that were separated and stood over each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages by the power the Holy Spirit was giving them.
There were some religious Jews staying in Jerusalem who were from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a crowd came together. They were all surprised, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were completely amazed at this. They said, "Look! Aren't all these people that we hear speaking from Galilee? Then how is it possible that we each hear them in our own languages? We are from different places: Parthia, Media, Elam, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the areas of Libya near Cyrene, Rome (both Jews and those who had become Jews), Crete, and Arabia.
But we hear them telling in our own languages about the great things God has done!" They were all amazed and confused, asking each other, "What does this mean?"
But others were making fun of them, saying, "They have had too much wine."
Notes on the Scripture
Although most Bible translations refer to the coming of the Holy Spirit as a "wind", the original Greek called the phenomenon a "violent breath". This is important, because Christ had previously imparted the Spirit to the apostles by breathing on them (John 20). Thus, when the Holy Spirit is given more widely to Christ's followers, it represents the very breath of Jesus, fulfilling his promise that he would not leave his followers alone.
People speaking in many languages sounds familiar; it occurred in the Old Testament. Remember that in the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), where God prevented men from building a tower as high as heaven. He stopped them by making them all speak different languages, and then scattered them all over the earth.
Now the Holy Spirit has, in effect, done the opposite of what God did in the Tower of Babel. People have come to Jerusalem from all over the world. When the disciples speak, every one of them can understand, as if his own language is being spoken.
The gift of unity is one of Christ's gifts to the world. Remember, knowledge of God had been given only to the Jews in the Old Covenant; however, Christ had promised to spread his salvation not only to the Jews, but to all people in the world. Where the Old Covenant divided humanity, the New Covenant brings them together.