Thy Kingdom Come

As Thy Kingdom Come draws closer to Pentecost, the moment when Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit, Steve Guffick shares what it meant for him when ‘Send out your Holy Spirit’ meant exactly that. Steve became a Christian two years ago after saying the words ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the Lord’s Prayer as he knelt at the bedside of his father who had just died, “I didn’t know why at the time. I hadn’t been to church for years, other than the odd wedding or christening.”

From then on, Steve felt he was being called to go to church, which he did in secret, finding peace and assurance in God’s love for him. So much so, that he was baptised by Revd Caspar Bush, who was a farmer before being ordained, in an old dip tank!

Since that time, Steve’s faith has grown, as has his hunger to know more of God. Conversely, fasting seemed like it could be a way to feed that desire, to enrich his prayer life and give him greater clarity.  “I had many questions for God about the direction of my discipleship and this seemed a way to try and get some answers,” said Steve.

Lent was the perfect opportunity. Instead of giving up chocolate, crisps or wine, Steve fasted on certain days, all day Sunday and during daylight hours of Wednesday and Thursday, and gave up TV. “It seemed counterproductive, trying to be more focused only to lose it all watching Tattoo Fixers!”

Physically, Steve said, he didn’t get overly hungry and his energy levels weren’t affected, which surprised him, but he did find it very hard not to eat when others were eating around him. But he thought it was a small sacrifice to make when balanced against all his blessings and the things he felt God has done for him.

There were times when he struggled spiritually but every time, God found a way to encourage him. For example, “One Sunday evening, I was sat in church needing to eat, thinking I couldn’t carry on, when out rolled the scripture about Jesus in the wilderness not giving in to temptation, so I kept going.”

What was more powerful for Steve, however, was the absolute focus on the importance of prayer that fasting gave him. “A plea came for prayer for a friend’s baby who was very premature and very sick. I knew as many people as possible had to be engaged to pray for the baby and sent out texts, emails, phone calls to rally everyone. Later that day, a doctor confirmed that the baby was no longer in peril and was getting better. Prayer works!”

Going to church as many times as possible was a big help to Steve as he fasted, but it was on Palm Sunday that he felt focused in a way he had never experienced before. “When the words ‘Send out Your Holy Spirit’ were spoken, I felt it. I felt the power of the Holy Spirit, not in a ‘Ah, isn’t that nice’ way but in an all-consuming, all-fulfilling way that left me in no doubt that God was with me, in me and it was amazing!”

As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

And it didn’t end there, as Steve explains. “On Maundy Thursday, I went back to Lanner, for a foot washing, communion and feast service. In a darkened church, we sat around a table full of candles that represented the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was on his last Thursday. The idea was to pray quietly, which I love to do. After a few minutes, while praying, I saw a figure in bright white clothes, glowing with a burning bright light, descend from above to a cross on the table. I couldn’t make out a face, just an intense light.” When Steve opened his eyes, all was normal in the church.

“I couldn’t share the story with anyone for a few days as I was stunned. I was excited, a little scared but really honoured.” As Steve says frankly, “I don’t know if all these things were a blessing for fasting, or hunger playing tricks on me, but I will fast again because I found it the most rewarding thing I have done.”

Here is Steve’s prayer for Thy Kingdom Come.

Loving Father

Thank you for your unquestioning love

Thank you for revealing yourself to us when we need you the most

Thank you that your lessons in humility and love for others shine out as a guiding light for us to follow

We pray your love will be let into the hearts of everyone, whether they seek it or not

And that we may continue to serve you, and one another, humbly in love