3 Ways I Rely On The Holy Spirit To Parent

by Holy Spirit, May, Parenting

Here are 3 ways in particular that I rely on the Holy Spirit to parent: The Holy Spirit sanctifies me and fills me with God’s love when I am empty, He comes through on his scriptural promises, and He gives practical gifts which bear fruit. Let’s dive into these one at a time. 

1) As a parent I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me towards a deeper relationship with God, and to give me grace. We talk very easily about grace. We might say, “That was handled gracefully,” or “God gave me the grace to get through that.” However, we often don’t remember what grace is.  Grace is participation in the life of God, the communion of love that is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (CCC 1997). When we ask for grace, we are asking for God’s very life. Grace helps us because grace is connection with the All-loving, All-knowing, and All-powerful God. When we recognize the power of that connection, it’s easy to see why Christians talk so much about grace and the help it is. 

Which brings me back to the Holy Spirit. As He draws me deeper into relationship (i.e. prayer) with God and my spiritual life, I de facto become a better parent. Why? Because I can’t give what I don’t have. On my own, I cannot love the way my children deserve. I cannot be as patient or wise. I do not have the strength that I have when I am united with God. When I am close to God, I can love out of the abundance of his love. I still experience my frailty, and mustering up being a loving parent can feel like I’m trying to squeeze blood from a turnip (Me being said turnip), but when close to God I can tap into the inexhaustible ocean of HIS love and shower that on my children when I myself am empty.

Daily prayer draws you closer to God. Ask God to reveal His Fatherhood to you and to live it out in you. He is THE Father, from Whom our own fatherhood takes its shape. You will find that in drawing close to Him you will start loving and parenting in ways that are clearly beyond your own power. It seems like every week I have at least one moment in which I am dumbfounded that a parenting moment went as well as it did, and I know that it didn’t come from me. (One great daily prayer is the Examen, which you can learn about via Discerning Hearts here: Fr. Timothy Gallagher – The Examen Prayer (discerninghearts.com))

2) As a parent I try to rely on the Holy Spirit specifically in ways that were either directly promised in Scripture or were at least shown to be ways the Holy Spirit works. 

Expect His help! It’s hard to do sometimes because we fear asking for help and not receiving it, so we just don’t ask. Or we ask without faith. Or we water down our real need “just in case” we don’t get the help we need. Trust in the Lord. Know as you do that He will ALWAYS help you. It might not look like what you expect, but He NEVER leaves you alone to fend for yourself when you call upon him. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate. 

For example, in Mark 13 and Luke 12, Christ speaks of His apostles being called before the authorities and tells them not to worry about preparing a case in advance because the Holy Spirit will speak through them at that moment. 

Kids are really great at asking questions. They’re innately curious, and that can lead to some tough moments as a parent. Now, kiddos grilling their parents with questions born of curiosity isn’t quite the same as being on trial, though it does sometimes feel like it. Nonetheless, I count on the Holy Spirit in those moments to help me find the words to say to teach my children about Christ and the faith. I have to do my due diligence, of course, in learning my faith, but the Spirit guides me in those moments. Keep in mind, the best answer might well be “I don’t know.” Then, you have a chance to learn alongside your child.

3) Scripture identifies for us 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 11 we read a prophecy of the coming Messiah upon Whom the Spirit of the Lord will rest. He describes the Spirit as being One of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God. If you’re baptized, you have received the Holy Spirit. If you’ve been confirmed, these gifts of the Spirit have been strengthened in you.

In addition to these gifts, we read about the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity (or goodness), faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are referred to as fruits of the Spirit to reveal to us that, like apples, peaches and plums, they don’t just exist on their own. They grow out of something, in this case, the gift of the Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation and the exercise of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve memorized these gifts and fruits, and I highly recommend that you do as well. If you know them, if you know the Holy Spirit and how specifically the Spirit helps us, you will know when and how to pray for His aid. The prayers don’t have to be complicated. I pray almost daily (and it should be daily because I need him daily) simple prayers that identify my need and ask his help. “Come Holy Spirit, strengthen me in fortitude for this meeting.” “Come Holy Spirit, give me wisdom in making this decision.” I also pray for the fruits of the Spirit, “Come Holy Spirit, bear in me the fruit of patience.” (That one comes up a lot). 

It’s great if you teach your kids the gifts and fruits because they can start doing the same. My 4-year-old doesn’t have them all memorized, but he’s got a couple of key ones for a 4-year-old (patience and self-control are two). When he needs help we will pray those simple prayers with him. Our kids will even pray for each other when they recognize that the other needs some help from the Spirit. To be honest, I’m not convinced that all of those prayers for each other are made completely in a spirit of charity, but we’re getting there. Frankly, if nothing else, hearing them pray is a quick reminder for me to do a self-check and see where I could use some divine assistance. 

These are just 3 ways that I rely on the Holy Spirit. In truth, the Spirit is always active and does more for me than I think I’ll ever really grasp this side of Heaven. He is our Advocate (John 14) and works tirelessly on our behalf. I would encourage anyone who wants to live more deeply in the Holy Spirit to check out the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. And at the end of the day, wherever you are in your relationship with the Holy Spirit, you can ALWAYS just say a quick prayer and ask for help. There are no magic words and “Lord, I need you” is a great prayer. God wants our good, more than we do ourselves, and the Holy Spirit is there for you always.

best catholic newsletter

Image: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Great Catholic Father's Day Gifts
at the Catholic-Link Co. Store!

Keep Searching, Keep Learning

Our Newest Articles:

Find the perfect Catholic gift for Dad here!

Search Catholic-Link

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest