John 14:16 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you for ever.
When I was overseas in World War II, I knew that my mother prayed for her son every day, a matter I regarded rather cynically. Her son was not in great danger unless one can die from boredom. But it was not that simple.
On my return home, I spent several days with my preacher cousin in the city. I had little regard for his God if he existed. The devastation of World War II says little for a big benevolent fellow in control of things. My cousin took part in a mission in the skid row district, so when it was his turn to hold forth, I tagged along with the pastor and his wife. A short sermon was followed by an appropriate hymn, "Are you weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care… take it to the Lord in prayer." I may have been somewhat destablized that morning, what with standing beside a beautiful lady and singing a hymn. Then too there can be that unguarded moment when a window may open in one's own defence. There in the company of the rejects of society, only I knew that I had much in common with the misfits assembled there. Most soldiers made an easy transition to civilian life; I did not. Halfway through the hymn there was a change in the sound, and I stopped singing. I became aware of an ambience in the room which seemed to penetrate the depth of my being, a strong, calm presence, comforting, healing, reassuring, forgiving and reconciling.
Although I never spoke to anyone about the incident for many years, it has been a central focal point these fifty years as I have contemplated things spiritual. Very many things that had puzzled me fit into place as I came to realize that the Holy Spirit had been working in my life for years before I realized it, in response to my mother's prayers in those war years. Although my case is atypical, my experience of conversion was when I became aware of the distinct place the Holy Spirit had already taken in my life.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, forgive our dullness and slowness of faith. Enlighten our minds, that we may ever be aware of your Holy Spirit within our lives. We pray that you will renew our lives, strengthen our belief, and draw us close to you. Holy Spirit, abide with us. Amen.