How to hear God’s voice
“Do you know of any father who would give his daughter a spider when she had asked for an egg? Of course not! If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit when his children ask him.”
-Luke 11:12–13 TPT
“I see a picture of a big, long banquet table with lots of food and Jesus is at the center,” my friend Molly said as she prayed for me.
Inspired by a trip to Israel, I began hosting weekly community dinners on Fridays in my home last year. In Israel, families and friends gather together every Friday evening at sundown as part of their Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath). It amazed me to see families and friends connecting together each week, enjoying each other’s presence with God, and taking time to rest. I thought, “We need this in America!” so I began hosting a weekly dinner with some girlfriends.
The dinners started out great, but as the winter months approached, they lost steam (I hope my cooking wasn’t to blame!) “What’s happening?” I asked the Holy Spirit one winter day. A few weeks later, my friend Molly prayed for me and shared that picture she received.
Everything suddenly clicked. “Oh!” I said. “Jesus wants to be at the center!” I felt like the community dinners were great, but Jesus was inviting me to let him play a more central role. In the following months, the Friday community dinners transformed into a Friday young adult Bible dinner group that is still thriving today.
When we receive Jesus into our hearts, God’s Word says that we also receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). A Greek word often used in the New Testament to refer to the Holy Spirit is paracletos which translates to “paraclete” in English. It means one who is called alongside or one who is summoned to help. This is a rich word that means “advocate, comforter, consoler, encourager, counselor, helper, encourager, intercessor, strengthener and advisor.” While on earth, we continually grow in intimacy with the Holy Spirit and we can learn to yield to him. In the instance of the community dinners, the Holy Spirit worked through Molly to show me what next steps to take. The Holy Spirit speaks to us today through God’s Word, through other people, through situations and circumstances, in nature, through pictures and sensations and more. Just like we have a relationship with a person, we can also have a relationship with the Holy Spirit and he will encourage, comfort, and guide us.
In addition to encouraging, comforting, and guiding us, the Holy Spirit also empowers our ministry and our ability to love others. Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As we grow in relationship with the Holy Spirit and allow him to work through us, these fruits naturally flow out of us.
In addition (can you believe all these benefits?!), the Holy Spirit fills us with power so we can fulfill the destiny God has for us. The Holy Spirit indwells us, but he also comes upon us to empower us. We can simply ask for more of him and like God’s Word says — God delights to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Let’s ask today!
Jesus, thank you for sending us the Holy Spirit to be in us and with us. We are truly never alone. God, please increase wisdom and revelation so we can see how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives this week. Teach us how we can partner with the Holy Spirit to fulfill the destiny and purpose you have for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
For deeper devotion:
- Grab a cup of coffee or tea, settle into a cozy spot and take a few deep breaths. Luke 11:13 says, “How much more will our Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit when his children ask him.” How about you ask him today? Say, “I want to receive more of you Holy Spirit.” Then wait a minute in silence. A picture or a Scripture may pop into your mind. You may feel a sensation of peace or joy. If you begin to sense something, say “Thank you Holy Spirit” and “Pour out more Holy Spirit.” God’s Word says he delights to give good gifts to His children, and the Holy Spirit is a good gift! And if you don’t feel or sense anything, that’s okay! Trust that God delights to increase your relationship with the Holy Spirit even if you cannot sense him right now.
- Scan through the past three days. Where could the Holy Spirit have been moving but maybe you didn’t notice it until now? In what ways were you encouraged, strengthened, comforted, or guided in the past three days? The Holy Spirit works through people too, so you may have experienced Him through a friend, colleague or stranger! Take a minute to write these moments down in your journal.
Definitions courtesy of https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/paraclete/