Recognizing Prompts of the Holy Spirit
A friend of mine and I were having a conversation last week about the spiritual realm and how there is spiritual warfare going on around us that we don’t even see.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
“So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city. When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:14-17 (NLT)
We can sense the spiritual realm and hear the Holy Spirit
My friend and I talked about how we are sometimes able to sense this warfare or sense the presence of evil. Sometimes it’s just a creepy feeling we can’t shake or maybe even a presence of something that’s not there or that we can’t see. Occasionally, we might have a thought or hear an inaudible “voice”. I think the closer we walk with God, the more we will be able to sense these kinds of things. We will also be able to recognize the Holy Spirit communicating with us. The Holy Spirit will frequently reveal things to us, warn us, or prompt us into prayer or action. God will often speak to us through the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Read more here on how to recognize God’s voice.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26 (NLT)
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” John 16:13-15 (NLT)
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14 (NLT)
Sensing the Holy Spirit’s directions and warnings
Previously I wrote a post about hearing the Holy Spirit (God’s voice) when Jesus told me where his arm was. In that post I mentioned how I once heard comedian Michael Jr. say how God’s name is “Something”…You know, like “Something told me not to do that!” I’ve had several of the “something told me” moments over the years, but it wasn’t until I matured more spiritually that I began to understand that it was the Holy Spirit prompting, directing, or warning me about things.
A bad feeling in the middle of the night
I mentioned before about a time when I woke up in the middle of the night with an icky feeling. It was almost a panicky feeling as if something was wrong. I immediately started to pray and continued to do so until the feeling subsided. The next morning I called my mom to see if everyone was okay. She then told me that one of my brother’s best friends had just died in a car accident that night before and how my brother was really having a hard time with it. She told me that I was probably prompted to intercede in prayer for my brother and his friend’s family. That was one instance of many where I believe the Holy Spirit was guiding me into intercessory prayer.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT)
People that creeped me out for some reason
I’ve also had experiences when I’ve been around certain people where I get what like to call the “heebie-jeebies”. 🙂 It’s hard to explain, but I would just kind of get a sense that that particular person (or people) were just not safe to be around. I would have a sort of “knowing” that I needed to be careful, to avoid or get away from, or to not be alone with these people. Sometimes I never really had any hard evidence that these were unsafe people. However, there have been a couple of situations where years later I discovered that a couple of those people were sexual/child predators or that they had been dealing with some kind of sexual sin in their lives. It’s both a weird sensation, yet somehow refreshing to find out that those “feelings” were accurate.
An “evil” booth at a craft fair
More recently I experienced one of these sensations or promptings at a craft fair. My mom and I had driven to Arkansas to attend the War Eagle Mill Fall Craft Fair. As we were walking down one of the aisles I was looking at some fall décor in one of the vendor booths when I felt as if someone were standing behind me or was looking over my shoulder. I turned around, but there was nobody there. I still had that feeling though, almost like there was a shadow there or something.
Then I looked further across to the other side of the aisle/path and saw a booth. Immediately, I had the thought, “That booth is evil.” When my mom walked up beside me I said, “Hey mom, that booth over there is evil.” She said, “Why? What do they have over there?” I said, “I have no idea. I just know it’s evil for some reason.” “Did you get a weird feeling?” she said. “Yep,” I replied, “We’ll have to check it out when we walk that way and see what it is.”
Later as we walked past that booth, that feeling of evil or darkness came back. “Do you feel it?!” I exclaimed to my mom. We peaked at the booth to find a variety of eastern religion items, statues, and figurines (idols basically). The booth was also covered in spirit bells for sale and had ritual bells and other items that looked like they might be of witchcraft or Wiccan origin. My feelings were confirmed.
A random thought
Another very specific instance comes to mind when I think of being prompted by the Holy Spirit. One day many years ago as I was at home working in the office, I had a random thought just pop in my head about what Eric was thinking about at that exact moment. Honestly, I can’t even remember precisely what it was. However for example’s sake let’s say it was, “Eric is thinking about baseball.” What a weird thought. Why in the world would I just all of a sudden think that Eric was thinking about baseball? I pondered that question for a moment. Then another thought popped up, “Go ask him.” Well, okay then.
So, I walked into our bedroom where Eric was laying on the bed watching TV (not baseball mind you). “Were you just thinking about baseball,” I asked him. With a confused and puzzled look on his face he responded, “Yes. How in the world did you know that?” “I have no idea,” I told him, “I just did. The thought just popped in my head so I thought I’d come ask to see.” Then, I walked out of the room.
The Holy Spirit will practice with us
There was a lady who I used to work with named Dorothy. I looked up to Dorothy as kind of a spiritual mentor. She was very wise, and I deeply respected her. I decided I would ask Dorothy about this random “Eric is thinking about baseball” thought.
The next morning at work I went to Dorothy and told her about the whole incident. She just grinned really big at me and said, “The Holy Spirit was practicing with you.” I gave her a puzzled frown and said, “He does that?” Then, she went on to explain that the Holy Spirit will practice with us to help us to learn to recognize and follow his voice.
After that I started to pay more attention to thoughts and feelings and then check them out to see if they were accurate. Sometimes there were. Sometimes they weren’t. This “practice” helped me to discern what God’s voice actually sounded like. I started to recognize what types of feelings and thoughts to pay attention to and which ones to discard. Now, it’s a lot easier to recognize prompts of the Holy Spirit.
Take Some Practical Steps to Recognize Prompts of the Holy Spirit:
- First, realize that the Holy Spirit WILL in fact speak to you and guide you and warn you about things.
- Next, learn to listen and pay attention to things that you might normally or inadvertently dismiss. Don’t just disregard or dismiss feelings or random thoughts. Ask yourself if they might possibly be the Holy Spirit trying to tell you something.
- Then, practice with the Holy Spirit. If you have a feeling or a random thought, test it out if you can—similar to how I called my mom to check on the bad feeling I had the night prior or how I asked Eric about what he was thinking.
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (MSG)
- Finally, once you start to recognize the Holy Spirit and his prompts, ALWAYS trust and respond to them. There have been times where I did dismiss them, and I could kick myself because it would have saved me some sort of trouble or inconvenience. You know…“Something told me I should have…” 🙂 Your obedience and response may very well protect you or someone else from spiritual attacks that we can’t see. Obedience can keep you safe or prevent negative circumstances.
“You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!” Acts 7:51 (NLT)
“Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations–words of instruction or exhortation or warning].” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 (AMP)
EXTRA CREDIT 🙂 …
–Read this excellent article about 8 Different Ways the Holy Spirit Will Use to Communicate With Us over at the Bible-Knowlege.com website. It has some further great insight and explanation that is easy to understand which I believe will help you better understand the Holy Spirit and how he works.
Have you have some promptings by the Holy Spirit? What was the outcome? Share it with us by leaving a comment below!
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