“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” – Acts 2:1-4
A Thought for the Day
Dr. Willie James Jennings’ commentary on this unforgettable moment of our ancestry is some of the most powerful ever written:
“The miracles are not merely in ears. They are also in mouths and in bodies. God, like a lead dancer, is taking hold of her partners, drawing them close and saying, ‘Step this way and now this direction.’ The gesture of speaking another language is born not of the desire of the disciples but of God, and it signifies all that is essential to learn a language. It bears repeating: this is not what the disciples imagined or hoped would manifest the power of the Holy Spirit. To learn a language requires submission to a people. Even if in the person of a single teacher, the learner must submit to that single voice, learning what the words mean as they are bound to events, songs, sayings, jokes, everyday practices, habits of mind and body, all within a land and the journey of a people. Anyone who has learned a language other than their native tongue knows how humbling learning can actually be. An adult in the slow and often arduous efforts of pronunciation may be reduced to a child, and a child at home in that language may become the teacher of an adult. There comes a crucial moment in the learning of any language, if one wished to reach fluency, that enunciation requirements and repetition must give way to sheer wanting. Some people learn a language out of gut-wrenching determination born of necessity. Most, however, who enter a lifetime of fluency, do so because at some point in time they learn to love it.” – “Acts” by Willie James Jennings, pgs 29-30
This was the long-awaited moment where God’s power would come on his people so that they could bear witness. The real twist comes when God’s power to his people reveals that his desire isn’t to enable his people to be rulers, but to be family. Not to force others to join them or else, but to be able to enter the culture of others with humility and love.
This is the real miracle of Pentecost: God’s gift of power was also an act of submission. Because this is what true mission looks like, entering spaces where we are not in control and choosing to be the guest instead of the host. Let this sink in for a moment, when God’s power came on his people for the first time like that it wasn’t to highlight how they were different from everyone else, but to help them be more similar.
As you pray for your five today, and as Thy Kingdom Come reaches its end for this year, pray that God would help you find ways to humble yourself and connect to them and their culture, their ways of thinking and believing. Pray for God’s Spirit to enable you to become a witness just like those first disciples were: not a witness of power, but of submission and love.
Pray for his kingdom to come and his will to be done.
Praying for your Five:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing my prayers over these last 11 days. Thank you that you are drawing [say the names of your five] to yourself. Please empower me by your Spirit to be a witness to each of them. Enable me to enter into their world and help them feel a part of something bigger, a part of your kingdom. Teach me the inclusive ways of your Spirit. By your Spirit, make me a force that drives towards unity instead of division. Amen.”
Praying Something Old
The phrase “maranatha” is well-known to be used by the early church. But depending on how you break it up, it can mean different things. If the phrase is “marana-tha” it means “Lord, come”. But if the phrase is “maran-atha” it means “The Lord has come”.
Use both in your prayers today.
Begin by praying over and over, “Marana Tha!” – Lord, come!
Then move onto praying over and over, “Maran Atha!” – The Lord has come!
Praying Something New
Write God a letter, or a poem, or a song, or a card to express to him your thanks for listening to you for these last 11 days as you’ve prayed; and for bringing your five into his family.