The following post was originally published May 12, 2010. I’ve republished this along with a related devotional series now compiled into one convenient nine day prayer guide about the Holy Spirit. The video is a recording of a live Facebook Session, done God-incidentally almost 7 years ago to the day of the original post. You can download your free copy of the prayer guide at the bottom of the post. Blessings.
“Protestant novena” may be an oxymoron, because as far as I know a novena is a totally catholic thing. I wonder how many people reading this have even heard of a novena. I never had until this morning. Or, at least I don’t recall knowing about it. I was researching the church holiday “Ascension of the Lord” this morning and came across the term. A novena is a nine day prayer commitment focused upon a specific intention. It seems from what I have read, that the most common is a novena to the Holy Spirit between Ascension of the Lord Thursday and Pentecost Sunday.A novena though may be said at anytime of year and there is no limit to the focus of a novena.
According to scripture Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection and continued to spend time with them for forty days. At the end of that forty days, Jesus ascended or more literal “was taken” up into the heavens. The disciples stood and watched as he disappeared into the clouds. A promise was made that the gift of the Holy Spirit was coming soon, which then came to pass ten days later at Pentecost. So, forty days after Easter some traditions celebrate the Ascension of Christ. This year the celebration of the ascension of Christ falls on Thursday, May 13th. In the Catholic church, Ascension of the Lord is an obligatory holy day for all catholics. It is also common to observe a novena to the Holy Spirit for the nine days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. Some churches celebrate the ascension on the Sunday following Ascension Thursday.
The novena to the Holy Spirit consists of nine days of prayer guided by a verse, meditation and prayer for the day. The first day is sort of a getting started day in which you acknowledge your need for the Holy Spirit. Each successive day focuses upon a different aspect of the sevenfold nature of God’s Spirit; specifically, “the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and the Spirit of Holy Fear.” I put those aspects in quotes because I am completely borrowing here some catholic rhetoric from the novena to the Holy Spirit.
While I am not sure that I completely agree with some of the theology I saw used in the prayers and meditations in the catholic version of the novena, I really love the idea of taking nine days for focused prayer around my relationship with God specifically in regards to the Holy Spirit. The denomination that I am in tends to keep the Holy Spirit a bit at the edges. I have often said that if you attempted to express how our denomination regards the different parts of the trinity using fonts, then “God the Father” would be in 48 point arial, “Jesus Christ” would be 12 point times new roman, and the Holy Spirit would be in microfont wingdings. (Refer to the above graphic) Because of this, I think it would really behoove me to spend some prayer time around understanding the Holy Spirit more fully.
So, come Friday I am going to write and observe my own version of a novena to the Holy Spirit. Each day for nine days, I will identify a scripture about the Holy Ghost, write a brief reflection, and prayer. I will post each one for anyone who would like to join me. I am going to call each post “A dose of the Ghost.” I have never done anything quite like this, so I will offer a reflection on the experience at the end and would appreciate feedback from anyone who joins this little nine day prayer party.
Blessings and may the Holy Spirit be a vibrant presence in your life.
NEW FREE EBOOK
Would you like the entire ‘Dose of the Ghost’ series? If so, I have compiled all nine days of reflection and pray into one convenient ebook. The post are presented as published with the exception of the addition of space for you to write your own inspired prayers about the Holy Spirit.
You can read the guide in on sitting as a primer on the Holy Spirit or use it as a nine day devotional guide to transform you understanding of the nature and work of the Spirit.
Click the button below to download your free copy today.