Day 4 – The Spirit praises the Father and Jesus in us
As our relationship with each Person of the Holy Trinity gets closer and we know our own identity better, the Holy Spirit becomes more active in our lives. People around us see noticeable changes in us because we are being molded and we can also feel the difference. Our prayer life begins to evolve from a purely petitional or intercessory style, which tends to be like a monologue, to one that is more relational. That is, we converse with and relate to God more for who He is, rather than focusing on what He can do for us. And for what He has done for us, we become more grateful.
As our relationship with God continues to grow, praising God out of gratitude becomes a natural response to our overall experience of God as a loving Father, and as our saving Lord.
That explains the numerous accounts of people praising God in the Bible.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
However, for many of us, we find ourselves praising God only when we are told or feel obligated to do so, for example, during the liturgies. Praising God out of obligation or without a genuine heart is not meaningful to us. On the other hand, praising God with conviction and the right attitude can intensify our intimacy with God, and thus have a transforming effect on us!
Typically, we praise others when we are grateful to them. When we face difficulties in life, we are often reminded to count our blessings. It is done so that we can be made aware of God's graces and providence in our lives, and we become more grateful, hopeful and joyful as a result. Such intentionality will slowly become natural the more we taste the goodness of God through a more frequent and deeper encounter of God's love led by the Spirit. As this "mechanism of gratefulness" is activated by the Spirit, we praise God more. At the same time, the Spirit joins us in our praises. As we praise more, the Spirit's presence in our lives becomes stronger.
In the end, praising God is not a task to be completed. Rather, it will become a habit, or even a way of living.
As we praise God out of a heart of gratitude, we fix our gaze on the loving care and power of God, rather than our weaknesses, deficiencies, and sinfulness. It helps us to overlook our brokenness while lifting our spirit and soul to our Almighty God.
Praising God gives us Joy
While God doesn't need our praises, He wants more of us! As we praise God, it engages our heart and our being more than just our mind, which helps us connect to God more readily.
Praising God gives us New Lenses
Praising God "opens doors" to blessings from above in times of troubles. Not that blessings are absent at times of trials but our eyes and hearts close in to make us blind to blessings as we focus our attention only on the imminent hurdles and sufferings.
Praising God helps us refocus our gazes on God, turning our inward-looking self-centred mode back to other-focused Christ-Centred mode. As we praise God, we are also giving the Spirit permission to act upon us. When He acts, both healings and miracles begin to happen! And signs and wonders begin to accompany our works.
"About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose."
Here we can witness that not only does praising God bring us joy and hope amidst sufferings, but God also responds and accompanies us with miracles and wonders! And we begin to taste what it is like when the Spirit lives and acts in and through us. That is the reason why it is even more important to praise God during trials and storms in our lives!
Praising God unifies us before God
As we sing praises to God together, we can have a very edifying experience when our different voices blend together harmoniously. It unifies us and helps break barriers of our differences. It brings tremendous joy to God to see us in perfect communion, enjoying each other's company and abiding in Him. As you can imagine, praising God together can intensify our encounter with God. It is like singing together with all the angels and saints, giving us a real taste of Heaven on earth.
Most important of all, praising God helps tune our hearts to the movement of the Holy Spirit, which makes us more attentive to His prompts and inspirations. And by humbling ourselves to receive His divine empowerment, the Spirit helps conform us to the Father's will!
Dear God, thank you for making me aware of my lack of gratitude and not making enough effort to praise You. I beg you to forgive my ungrateful heart with all the disappointments and heartbreaks that I have caused You through the years. Please replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Bless the Lord, O my soul, don’t allow me to forget all your benefits! (Psalm 103:2) I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!
Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.
My beloved child, I forgive you. It is consoling to me to see your penitent heart. Give me your heart, and I will give you a new one. My only wish is that you remain always with me, and that your joy be complete! I love you always!
Novena to the Holy Spirit:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what to do, direct my every choice. I promise to submit myself to all you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Grant this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Day Four Desiring the Spirit "Belief" Luke 11:9-13: And I tell you, ask and you will receive: seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For anyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.
Meditation: God is all around us. His Spirit pervades the universe and yet we do not let His Spirit in. We try to get along without His help and we make a mess of our lives. We can do nothing of any value without God's help. Our human relationships depend on God. When we let God's Spirit rule our lives, we learn how to get along with others and how to help them.
Prayer for the Day: Lord, I believe that Jesus Christ is you Son, and that we are saved through His grace.Grant that the Holy Spirit may strengthen my belief that I may glorify Him in all my works. Amen
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
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As I reflect, I realized that I used to praise God more often and my heart has gone cold. Father, I ask for your forgiveness and ask for a new heart in Jesus’ name. May the Holy Spirit come to empower and infill me with His love to fan aflame the heart within me again. I praise and thank you, Lord for rekindling the desire for a.closer relationship with you.