Rector's Reflections - 14 May

Rector’s Reflections

Tuesday  14th May 2024

Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire

I think all of us from time to time experience situations when we feel we need some help. It might be that we are confused and not sure what we are to do or think – in such cases it is natural for us to seek some guidance. In some situations, we might know what we need to do, but lack the courage to do it.  At times when we are feeling confused or frightened, it is only natural to offer up a prayer to God. Sometimes our prayer can be simply, “God, please help me!”.   Short prayers such as this are sometimes called “arrow prayers” –  such prayers can be pictured as arrows sent up to Heaven.  I’m sure that God doesn’t mind short and simple prayers – indeed, I think He quite likes them.

There are many different ways in which we  can ask for God’s help, and one of these is to ask God to send His Holy Spirit into our lives. Prayers invoking the Holy Spirit can be very simple: it is enough to say, “Come, Holy Spirit!” .   But we might also wish to pray more specifically, focussing on the specific needs of a particular situation.

The hymn “Come, Holy  Ghost, our souls inspire”   starts by asking God’s Holy Spirit to give us two particular gifts. The first request is for the gift of inspiration: “Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire”.   I think so often inspiration is what we lack.  We are often tired, as individuals and as organisations, and  in need of fresh vision and new ideas.  The fresh inspiration we need might relate to new ideas, or it might be about giving us a fresh sense of energy and purpose.  A prayer to the Holy Spirit for the gift of inspiration will rarely be amiss.

Having requested the gift of inspiration,  our hymn goes on to pray for the gift of enlightenment: “ Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire”.   This is a prayer for insight. We are asking God to give us the insight we need to understand a situation.  As I write these words, I am thinking of two different circumstances. First, there are those situations where we aren’t at all sure what we are to do – we are in more or less complete darkness.  In such a situation, it is natural to ask God for enlightenment. But there are also situations where we think we know what’s going on, but in fact we are mistaken.   

But there is an additional aspect to this prayer for enlightenment.  We are invited to ask God to help us to see things as God sees them: to see things in the light of  God’s love and purposes. In the words of the hymn,  we pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us with “celestial fire”.  It is good to ask for enlightenment, but mere enlightenment as it is understood in secular terms is not enough. We need  the enlightenment that comes from seeing things as God sees them. 

So our hymn starts with praying for the Holy Spirit to give us the inspiration we need, and the enlightenment which comes from seeing things as God sees them.   It is hard to think of a better start for our prayers.

Powered by Church Edit