June 2022

The following is a possible framework for the Witnessing of the Word. It can be personalised or altered: its purpose is to serve as an example of how this Saying might be used primarily in the context of a Prayer Group, but it may be used by individuals too. It is not intended to be definitive.  In the context of a group: the periods of silence should be appropriate for your group - probably not less than 5 minutes, or more than 15 minutes.

Saying for the month: John 14.26 – ‘The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things’ (RSV).

In your time of contemplation, you may like to shorten this to John 14.26 ‘The Holy Spirit will teach you all things’.

To begin the exercise, first spend a short while in relaxation and preparing to be still; you may want to relax your way through your muscles or you may find it helpful to become aware of the sounds around you and then put them aside as you offer this time of prayer to God.  Say this introductory invitation to prayer, then keep a further minute or two of silence:  ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11.28)


Introduction to the first silence - a preparation for listening with the mind:

‘The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things’.

We take this Saying into our minds, allowing the saying to speak to us: ‘The Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things’.

Oh if only all of the people of God would deeply listen to the Holy Spirit teaching them, what a force for love and justice and peace we would be in the world! Our word this month calls us to listen. To develop the contemplative mind that hears God and moves us in line with how God the Father is working in working in our world through Christ in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.

From ancient times early Christians tried hard to grapple with how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit related to one another. It took over 300 years for those early church communities to reach agreement in the formula we still use as the Nicene Creed. They agreed finally that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were of the same divine substance and were three in one – One God, 3 Persons of God. One way they described how this works in a way that our finite human minds can understand is through the concept of perichoresis – mutual indwelling. The love that the three have unites them together in one divine flow, one divine movement that we are caught up in and can sometimes feel and experience in contemplation, prayer and worship. It is sometimes described as a divine dance – where the three are dancing differently in the one circle dance, each Person’s distinctive contribution elevating yet uniting the whole, as might be the case in an intricate ballet or exuberant street dance.

And the wonder is that we are all invited to join in the divine dance, for it includes the whole of creation including we people of faith.

Our word comes from John chapter 14 where Jesus comforts his disciples after telling them that he is going to leave them and go to the Father. He couches his words in terms of love. If Jesus’ followers love him they will naturally follow his teaching and be united as one as Jesus and the Father are one. For as John reminds us in his first epistle, God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

So as we prepare for the silence of the mind let us take this word to heart and prepare to ask God to fill us afresh with his Holy Spirit – to receive the Holy Spirit anew into our minds, our hearts, our whole beings. Let us own this promise that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. If there is a difficult issue that you have been wrestling with, whether about church beliefs or relationships, or a problem in the rest of your life that has been worrying you, give it to God now in the stillness. Ask the Holy Spirit to move in that situation and to show you the way: ‘The Holy Spirit will teach you all things’.

A time is now kept for silence of the mind – perhaps between 5 and 15 minutes.  The silence concludes with a short thanksgiving, and/or feel free to repeat the Saying.  The first silence ends with the words: Father, we thank you for the gift of your Word.


Introduction to the second silence - a preparation for listening with the heart:

‘The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things’.

Now we take this word into our hearts, as we allow Jesus’ words to speak in us, to let it touch us and let it work more deeply upon our lives.

What is it that gives us the most joy and the most sorrow in life? Surely it is relationships. Relationships can bring us so much joy and happiness, but also much sorrow and heartache. Joy and happiness in relationships is the reward of love. Sorrow and heartache is the necessary cost of love when love is damaged or lost.

God is love. Hosea describes God's love as like the dawn, like the rising sun that steadily grows brighter and stronger and clearer as we allow ourselves to experience it, and nothing can interrupt it. The love that we humans have, however, is more like a morning cloud; patchy, come and go. Unreliable. Yet what God wants from us more than anything - beyond loving him - is to love each other. Always, not just from time to time when it suits us. When it's easy. God desires steadfast love, not sacrifice or any works. Anything that you and I do that we count as religious is pointless without love. None of our church stuff matters without a deep, generous, unwavering, unconditional love for each other. When our love for others is overshadowed by our prejudices, biases, superiority complexes, or snobbery, God is not ok with that. Those things haves to go so that we can flourish and flower both individually and together.. God may wound us and heal us like a surgeon who might have to cut away bits of us that are unhealthy so the rest of us can be full of life. But then God carefully bandages us so we can heal.  

If we are to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, we must have an attitude of heart and mind that is willing to learn, willing to be changed by love. A heart that is not hard with fixed opinions that shut others out, but a heart that is open to living with and loving difference and diversity. A heart that is truly open to those who are very different to us, with different beliefs and values. Jesus gave us the example of a ‘neighbour’ to be loved and cared for in telling of someone in need of a different religion who our religion and society despised when he gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan. God blesses the righteous and the unrighteous, and loves everyone equally regardless. How can we think any differently when Jesus commanded us to love our enemies? Surely God loves more than we can ever love, so if Jesus said we should love our enemies and bless those who hate us surely God does too! He wants everyone to be his child and loves all that he has made without fear or favour.

In the silence of the heart now let us pray for our heart to be softened by God’s love, as we prepare to allow the Holy Spirit, who Jesus asked the Father to send us, to teach us all things.

A time is now kept for silence of the heart – perhaps between 5 and 15 minutes. The second silence ends with the words: Father, we thank you that your Word is alive and within us.

Introduction to the time of intercession – taking God’s word outwards into the world.

‘The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things’.

In our final section we use the silence of the Will to actively send our word out into the world to those who need the healing and guidance of the Holy Spirit who will teach all things.

Say the name of a person or a group of people, and after a short pause, repeat the saying. For example:

‘Alison and your family … 'The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things'.  Or simply add 'The Holy Spirit, will teach you all things'.

As we allow the word to speak through us we might direct Jesus’ word towards those people and situations where there is suffering, hurt and an absence of joy and where abiding in Christ would bring comfort.  Conclude this time of intercession with words of thanksgiving: Father, we thank you that your Word has gone out through us to those for whom we pray.

The Conclusion

Feel free to use the Fellowship Prayer (below) or another closing prayer to conclude your time of contemplative prayer:

Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you for all your unsearchable riches which pour forth from you as light from the sun, in boundless profusion and generosity, whether received, ignored or rejected. And now we offer to you, in so far as we are able, as an emptiness to be filled with your divine fullness, ourselves, our souls and bodies; all that we are, all that we have and all that we do. Amen

You may wish to say the Grace together before departing.