You have likely heard people pray to be lifted up. Lifted out of their troubles, lifted to good health, lifted in prayer by others, up is the way to go! In fact one of my earliest posts on this blog was Up,up God
I want to share my experience from this past Sunday when I was preaching at one of my regular places to supply. I was up very late the night before and then up early because, of course, I had final touches to make on my sermon…if two more pages can be considered finishing touches. I was, by no means, perky as I drive the hour to church.
I would say that it was about half-way there when I started thinking about the congregation with whom I was about to worship. I have filled in there many times while they were without a minister. In fact, I was their summer student minister a couple of summers ago. It may not have been the best summer of my whole life, but is was the best in recent years!
I arrived and visited a bit with the early birds and joined in singing at the choir practise. The session members usually meet to pray before the service so we did that, and then we met again with the choir to pray. I am not great with extemporaneous prayer, but the practice I have gained through the spiritual life of this church has made a big difference. I took a deep cleansing breath, stretching my arms out (quite out of character for me) and I said…
“Dear God we thank you for this beautiful morning and this chance to worship together…”
At that point I found myself thinking how uninspired this prayer sounded. It isn’t that I don’t mean it with feeling, but it ends up being the start to almost all my prayers. I continued.
“…May we breathe in your Spirit today, and exhale your praise! Amen.”
With that we lined up and entered the sanctuary. Later, on my way home I felt that I had never before felt as I did in the pulpit that morning! Objectively, that probably isn’t totally accurate, but I barely felt that my feet were on the ground throughout the service. I don’t know if I seemed any different to the congregation, but I was so full of the Spirit that I couldn’t have contained it if I had tried! Even now, thinking about it makes me tear up a bit.
By the time I got home (an hour later) I was back in the ground and feeling heavy and tired. I wanted to tell my husband or someone about my experience, but being Presbyterian does not lend itself to expressions of this sort. Even as I type this, I feel a bit sheepish and like I should keep it to myself lest I come off as crazy.
I pray that each of you who reads this has had, or will have even a moment of this elation, that you may have your own flight with the Spirit!