Pentecost Sunday Devotional: How to listen to the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

pentecost2“a noise like a strong driving wind . . . tongues as of fire”

Reading those words always fill me with wonder.

My heart is bursting with joy this morning because today, the universal Church celebrates Pentecost, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, whom our Lord Jesus Christ sends to be with us, always.

Given His importance, it is distressing how little we actually know about the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.

This much we know, from Jesus’ own words: The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete (advocate, counselor, comforter) and the “Spirit of truth”.

John 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

Let those words sink in . . . .

Recently, my husband, who late in life finally returned to God and the Church, expressed misgivings that he had spent most of his life not in service to God. But I reminded him that, on the contrary, he is serving Him because his life has been one of scholarship, in pursuit of the truth, and God is truth.

Given that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, it is important that we seek and heed His counsel.

But how? How do we listen, and how do we know when the Holy Spirit speaks?

Here are some suggestions from Charisma News and a few from my puny experience:

1. Pray for wisdom: “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” With sincerity and humility, ask the Holy Spirit to counsel, enlighten and guide you, especially when you have just received Holy Communion and/or before the Eucharist in the tabernacle.

2. Listen to the Spirit: The Holy Spirit speaks to us in many ways —

  • In the Bible: God is always speaking through His Word. Apply what you read to your life and you’ll position yourself for additional truth and wisdom—no matter how God communicates it to you. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  • As a still, small voice in our mind.
  • As a flash of understanding.
  • In a dream or vision: St. Joseph was told by an angel to “not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Matthew 1:20). St. Peter fell into a trance (see Acts 10:10). St. Paul had supernatural encounters—whether in the body or out of the body, he did not know (see 2 Cor. 12:13). St. John wrote the entire book of Revelation based on a supernatural vision.
  • Through our surroundings in our daily lives: God spoke to Solomon through his practical experiences, an account of which is in Proverbs 24:30-34: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles covered its surface, and the stone wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it; I looked on it and received instruction: Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, so your poverty will come like a stalker, and your need as an armed man.” If you keep a listening ear, you’ll discover that God will speak to you through and about many things just as you go about your everyday life.

3. How do we know that it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us:

  • By the message’s goodness: Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune Godhead. He will never counsel you to do ill or harm.
  • By its persistence: When the Holy Spirit wants you to do something, He can be very, very persistent!
  • By your sense of peace: When you listen and heed His counsel, your heart, mind and soul will be at peace. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7.

Holy SpiritFor a beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit, go here.

And if you are a lector/reader today (as I will be!) and you are uncertain as to how to pronounce words like “Elamites,” “Cappadocia” and “Cyrene,” go to this great website, Biblical Words Pronunciation Guide, where you can click on each word and hear it pronounced properly by a strong male voice.

May the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of Truth — and the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!


6 responses to “Pentecost Sunday Devotional: How to listen to the Holy Spirit

  1. Pingback: Pentecost Sunday Devotional: How to listen to the Holy Spirit — Fellowship of the Minds | kommonsentsjane

  2. Thank You Dr. Eowyn for the beautiful Devotional and prayer and reminder of Pentecost today.
    The Holy Spirit is awesome! The Holy Spirit is God’s Presence, our ever-present Help, our Guide, our Counselor, our Teacher, our Inspiration, and so much more.
    I pose a question, I asked my husband and he wasn’t entirely certain but mentioned something about Gregorian calendars. But, since Jesus died right before Passover began (this year it began April 22nd) and was resurrected on the Sunday of Passover (April 24th), then we would celebrate Pentecost on June 12th, instead of today.
    “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?” Matthew 26:17
    “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.” John 19:14-16.
    Why don’t we celebrate Easter (or ‘Resurrection Day’ as as some call it) on the Sunday of Passover?
    This question has been bugging me for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Indeed, between his Living and Written Word and his Holy Spirit God “has given us everything that we need that pertains to life and godliness”. Amen. Thanks for the good message.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank You for a very important post on all counts. For a man late in life to lament that he had not spent most of it in service to God, only to return, is to repent and return to God; It is a refusal to commit a sin against the Holy Ghost of final impenetance, and it is akin to the Prodigal Son returning to God. We must remember always that as long as there is life, there is hope, and hope is one of the great Gifts of the Holy Ghost. As long as there is life we can repent, which is what God is looking for!
    I would say, based on my own limited experience and vision of it, that the one quality of the Holy Catholic Religion is its sublimnity. Catholicism, properly understood (to the extent it can be understood in this life), is sublime. This, looking back on the lives of my own parents (both now with Our Lord and His Blessed Mother), is the outstanding quality I observed both about God and about them. The Holy Ghost is always calling us to LISTEN and to OBSERVE. And the fact that He can, to some extent and in some way, be listened to, either by His Presence or what He has Done, is experiential proof that God can and does transcend dimensions, and that we (I myself, especially) have great cause to be HUMBLE.
    At the end of it all, Our Lord has told us Himself, “I call you friends and not servants, because a servant knows not what his Master does.” So we are offered the sublime prize of sharing in His Life to the extent of our own participation in it. No other religion offers this. No other religion even takes much, if any, of a regard to this. This is what is unique about our Religion, and it is precisely why the World hates us. (And Jesus has told us that the World would hate us because it has hated Him FIRST!)

    The ONE THING God, CANNOT, by His Nature, Do, is LIE. As He cannot lie, neither can He Deceive nor be deceived. God Have Mercy on me, a sinner!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A little late, but thank you! It was a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this magnificent post. I have also found in my little way, that the Holy Spirit speaks with spontaneity, when you least expect Him to talk to you or when you are not expecting to hear from Him. And then, as Dr. Eowyn points out, He is most persistent making sure that you “get” what has been said to you. Praise and glory to the Triune God!


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