This weekend, we celebrate the feast day of Pentecost- the day when Jesus, newly ascended into Heaven, sent the Holy Spirit upon his apostles and us all to be with us in His physical absence. From this day forward, the apostles proclaimed salvation in Christ, baptized others in His name, and began their mission spreading His Good News to the nations. In this regard, Pentecost is known as the birthday of our Church.
As Christians, we are called to the same mission as the apostles and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can lead lives that bring glory to God.
There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can pray to be gifted these blessings from the Spirit in hopes to draw closer to Him and ultimately bring others to Him.
I want to highlight each gift and then end with a little prayer…
No. 1 – Fear of the Lord
I misunderstood this gift as a child, but I’ve come to really appreciate it as an adult and pray for it for myself and my entire family.
Fear of the Lord is not a quaking, panicked fear, but a holy, reverential fear. God is ever-knowing, ever-present, ever-powerful, and that is pretty incredible. If we truly love Him above all things, then we should see the wickedness of sin for what it is and want to turn away from it to make ourselves right with Him again. We want to save ourselves from the eternal punishment of sin.
That healthy fear gives us a contrite heart and moves us to seek forgiveness from God and from others. It is our love for God that makes us afraid to offend Him.
Remember too, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything we are is due to the wonder and perfect love of God. It is our honor to worship Him.
We approach God with reverence and tenderness. Our devotion comes with humility which is why we bow our heads or go down on our knees when we pray.
With the gift of Piety, we hold a increased desire to worship God, to stoke that flame within our hearts to be on fire for Him, to want only to be in His presence.
We can surround ourselves with objects and images that remind us of the divine in order to bring us to a more holy state of mind. These can be statues, medals, prayer beads/rosaries, sacramentals, anything that brings us to a closer relationship with Christ.
Lord, we pray for our priests, missionaries, nuns, bishops, the Holy Father in Rome, all those who feel called to the religious life, and for ourselves, that we may feel the gift of Piety in our lives. Help us to ignite the flame of love for You in our own prayer practices that we may draw ever closer to You. Amen.
We all want to make good decisions. We want to be able to examine the situation properly, discern right from wrong, and feel confident in making the correct decision that is pleasing to God and is ultimately God’s will for our lives.
The gift of Counsel allows us to act justly and to stand up to truth, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in defending those truths. We want to follow Christ and lead others down the same path as Christians.
Counseling others with those same skills is also a tremendous gift.
Lord, we pray for the gift of Counsel; we pray for all parents, teachers, therapists, social workers, priests, counselors, and anyone whose advice is sought. We pray that we consider all courses of action, consequences, and feelings, and that we are always seeking Your will for our lives. Amen.
No. 4 – Knowledge
We can’t truly love someone we don’t know, right? In order to really know God, we need to pursue Him with our whole heart, soul, and mind.
With the gift of Knowledge, we are drawn closer to God and we come to discover the attributes and character of God. We can determine His purpose for our lives and live accordingly.
We acknowledge that we are meant to serve Him and we honor Him by living out His will for our lives. Our God is a good and faithful God, and with His Spirit, we can turn to Him to help learn His ways and make right decisions.
Lord, we pray for the gift of Knowledge. Reveal yourself in new ways to us. Create in us a yearning – to see Your face, hear Your voice, and learn Your ways when we open Your Word and when we come to you in prayer and conversation. We want to be your disciples on earth, living out Your teachings. Amen.
No. 5 – Understanding
This gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to distinguish the will of God. It can be both prospective and reflective. Often times, we try to discern God’s will for our lives…
“Am I where I’m meant to be?”
“What is God trying to teach me in this moment?”
Other times, we can look back and see the effects of a situation or relationship and only then recognize God’s hand working for the good.
With the gift of Understanding, we start to truly grasp and comprehend God’s will, or purpose, for our lives.
Lord, we pray for the gift of Understanding– that we may constantly seek Your will for our lives and desire that above our own. There are many things we don’t understand about life; send us Your Spirit to help us. Amen.
No. 6 – Fortitude
This is the gift of moral courage and conviction. A person with Fortitude is able to stand up for what is wrong and feels obligated to take a stand when faced with immorality, injustice, and inequality.
This does not mean the person isn’t afraid to do so- in fact, a having Fortitude means doing these things even when one is scared, embarrassed, doubtful, nervous, or uncomfortable. But they do it anyway because that strong conviction moves them beyond those emotions to speak/act upon God’s truth.
An individual with Fortitude is armed with perseverance and strength, knowing it is necessary to fight good against evil.
Lord, we pray for the gift of Fortitude. Help us be brave for You. We want to keep spreading Your Good News and fighting evil, so equip us with the amour we need, spiritually and emotionally. Amen.
No. 7 – Wisdom
This gift gives us an intimate knowledge of God- one that allows us to understand things from God’s point of view, so to speak.
It is being blessed with the ability to recognize truth, and then taking this truth and applying it to solve problems, all for the glory of God.
It is not to be confused for human intelligence or the ability to spout facts. One cannot have Wisdom simply by living long enough or learning a great deal. It is also the gift of recognizing and contemplating what is of God.
Lord, we pray for the gift of Wisdom. Guide us to see life’s situations through the proper lens, with the truth that can only come from You. Bestow on us a grace that allows us to see with Your eyes and heart, and to recognize your goodness all around us. Amen.
Is there a specific gift you pray for most?
Happy Pentecost, and happy birthday to the Church!
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)