Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Hear and Understand the Holy Spirit's Guidance

How often do you pray? I did a simple search in e-Sword of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and came up with this list of verses to follow up with:

Mat. 1:18,20; 3:11; 12:32; 28:19; Mark 1:8; 3:29; 12:36; 13:11; Luke 1:15,35,41,67; 2:25,26; 3:16,22; 4:1; 11:13; 12:10,12; John 1:33; 7:39; 14:26; 20:22; Acts 1:2,5,8,16; 2:4,33,38; 4:8,31; 5:3,32; 6:3,5; 7:51,55; 8:15,17,18,19; 9:17,31; 10:38,44,45,47; 11:15,16,24; 13:2,4,9,52; 15:8,28; 16:6; 19:2,6; 20:23,28; 21:11; 28:25; Rom. 5:5; 9:1; 14:17; 15:13,16; 1Co. 2:13; 6:19; 7:34; 12:3; 2Co. 6:6; 13:14; Eph. 1:13; 3:5; 4:30; 1Th. 1:5,6; 4:8; 2Ti. 1:14; Tit. 3:5; Heb. 2:4; 3:7; 6:4; 9:8; 10:15; 1Pe. 1:12; 2Pe. 1:21; 1Jn. 5:7; Jude 1:20; Rev. 21:10;

Some of these verses aren't actually referring to the Holy Spirit, but the majority are. Time after time they relate how someone spoke just the right words because the Holy Spirit told them what to say. This begs the question, how did they know what the Holy Spirit was telling them, and I think the answer lies in their relationship with the Lord. They didn't just pray sometimes, or once a week when they gathered for a church service, or when they were under persecution and needed the Holy Spirit's guidance. They had a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord and prayed throughout the day every day. I've noticed in my own life when I need guidance that I'm more likely to hear and understand the Lord's answers to my prayers when I'm praying to Him throughout the day regardless of what's happening in my life.

The biggest challenge for me in learning how to pray throughout the day is simply remembering to do so. It takes conscious effort and Satan and this world are not exactly going to try to help you remember. Three key activities help me cultivate my prayer life no matter what distractions may occur: 

  1. Write it into my schedule
  2. Post reminders in places where I can't avoid them throughout the day
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind me to pray

Learning to pray throughout the day isn't an easy process but I'm discovering great rewards in my personal walk with God and my ability to hear and understand His direction for me. Hopefully, if I'm ever in the position where I need to defend my faith under persecution, I'll also be in a position to hear the Holy Spirit telling me what to say. The three activities Work for Me; over the next three weeks I'll go deeper into the practicals of how I use them.

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