Praying the Benedictus 1
Luke 1: 67 “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied
As Mary’s song is called the Magnificat because of the opening word in Latin, ‘Magnifies’, so Zechariah’s song is known as Benedictus for the same reason with the opening word Blessed or Praise.
The Holy Spirit has come upon and powerfully overshadowed Mary (v35); Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (v41) and her baby, John, was also filled with the Holy Spirit (v15) and now his father, Zechariah is again filled with the Holy Spirit!
There is no story without the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t appear in the nativity scenes and yet the powerful presence of God is central to the beginning of the most amazing story.
So let us get into this Benedictus of Zechariah.
How do we see the Holy Spirit in him? It is through the prophetic words that come tumbling out of his heart.
When we are hosting the presence of the Lord in our lives then it is seen in what comes out of our mouths.
- Not pain but praise!
He could have sung about how tough it had been for him, being muted by Gabriel and possibly unable to hear as well for 9 months. He could have sung about how much of a disgrace he and Elizabeth had suffered through her barren years. He could have turned on those who prior to the birth of John had turned away from them. This is our time to get even could have been his mantra. But there is nothing of that, there is just praise. People who carry the Holy Spirit in their lives speak less frequently about themselves and more about someone else.
- Not John but Jesus!
If we don’t talk about ourselves the temptation is to talk about our children or our things that we have earned or bought or celebrated. But it is still me.
We wouldn’t have blamed Zechariah to sing about John, after all it is the greatest miracle that ever happened to him. He may have got a book tour out of it, “Buy my book, buy my book, it is about my John”. Some will get their reward on earth and if they do then they should enjoy it because it ends on earth. Some will get it in heaven for eternity.
But Zechariah doesn’t sing about John, but Jesus! When the Holy Spirit flows from the heart of a person then He speaks of Jesus, He elevates Jesus, He glorifies Jesus (John 16:14).
I have been trying to practice (get better) at hosting the presence of the Lord, trying to make the ‘moment’ of His presence last longer in my life, in my waking hours, in my conversations, decisions and actions. I can only get better! But I am thankful for His grace. The other day I came away disappointed with myself because I had a meeting with someone and we talked at length about leadership, strategy, my denomination but I realised I had an emptiness in my heart after that meeting and it was because I hadn’t talked about Jesus. The Holy Spirit likes to talk about Jesus! I am finding that meetings without Jesus are beginning to bore me. Meetings about how people have offended or how great we have become are meetings I don’t want to be in anymore. Let’s talk about Jesus and what He is doing. For as the Apostle John would say in his Revelation, “For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (19:10)
Dear Lord and God of my life
Fill me again and again with your Holy Spirit.
Grace me with the ability to host your presence in my life.
I praise you for everything you have brought me through. In the presence of my enemies I will praise you. In the presence of the ignorant and misunderstanding I will praise you.
I praise you for everything you have provided and blessed me with. It is pure grace. But if you had given me nothing then I would still have had everything because you have given me a relationship with Jesus.
Thank you Jesus.
Today, I commit to thinking thoughts of you, to speak of you longer than I did yesterday.
Consume my whole life Jesus.