Session 7: The Holy Spirit, Source of Hope

· Consciously place yourself in God's presence …
· Become aware of the preoccupations and worries that trouble you today…
· Gently lay all your concerns before God …
· Breathe in the peace that is the gift of the Holy Spirit …
· 'Give us this day our daily bread.' Ask God for what you need today …

Reading: Romans 8: 26 + Galatians 5: 22, 23
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

· Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit fills us with hope, and comes to help us in our weakness. If we open our hearts to receive this hope ('trustfulness' is one of the many fruits of the Spirit), we will not be preserved from the inevitable sorrows of life, but we will not be totally crushed and embittered by them. The Spirit helps us to live in the here and now, with its burdens and fears, personal and global, without losing hope.
· The Holy Spirit, 'God's indwelling nearness' (Elizabeth Johnson), keeps the melody of hope audible in our lives, and offers a vision of hope, a new perspective on what is happening in the world and in our own lives. The Spirit helps us to trust that God keeps us company in all that happens to us - in our failures and defeats as well as in our joys and achievements. The gift of hope helps us not to be imprisoned in the past or constrained by the present; it shapes and colours the future, disposes us to change and opens us, heart and soul, to new possibilities.
· "Hope", said Henri Nouwen, "means to keep living amid desperation, and to keep humming in the darkness. Hoping is knowing that there is love; it is trust in tomorrow; it is falling asleep and waking up when the sun rises … And God will be holding you in his hands."

· Recall an occasion when you experienced 'the terror of the night' (Psalm 91) followed by 'the joy that comes in the morning' (Psalm 30).
· Reflect on a situation in our world today where an injection of hope is sorely needed…
· Pray this verse from Psalm 70: "O God, come to our aid. O Lord, make haste to help us."
· Identify a difficult experience in your own life, past or present, and ask God to bring healing to you and to all concerned.

End thoughts
The hope that the Spirit brings is accompanied by a readiness to wait patiently for what we hope for to be brought to fulfilment. To pray in hope means that all our concrete petitions - for safety, for employment, for healing, for basic necessities, for justice and peace and reconciliation, for the homeless and the hungry - are simply our way of expressing our confidence in God, and our expectation of his providential care for us.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

Session 7: The Holy Spirit, Source of Hope
00:00 -00:00