A Rushing Wind

A Novena With The Holy Spirit

Day 5 – Fear of the Lord

Coming into God’s Presence

Before praying, we stand in awe of who God is, and recognize His presence.

God created everything to reflect His goodness and perfection. When we are struck by the sweeping beauty of a dazzling sunset, it is a dim mirror of God’s beauty. When we are overwhelmed with the love we feel at the birth of a child, it is just a taste of God’s love for us. When we are filled with admiration for another’s intelligence, humility, kindness, or patience—all these things point to God, who is infinitely perfect! The same God whose goodness is dimly mirrored by the whole of creation is present here, in this moment. We should be overwhelmed that He comes to us now, humbly inviting us to accept the gift of His love.

We take a few moments in silence to become aware of God’s presence.


+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

To enlighten our minds // Come Spirit of all that is perfect
To enkindle our hearts // Come Spirit of all that is perfect
To renew our lives // Come Spirit of all that is perfect
To fill us with awe for God’s presence in our souls // Come Spirit of all that is perfect
To make our lives entirely for God’s glory // Come Spirit of all that is perfect
To give us absolute trust in God’s promises// Come Spirit of all that is perfect

Optional Study: Living Fear of the Lord

For people who want to delve deeper into the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Click here to jump to the study


A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 1:7-8

Jesus answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The word of the Lord // Thanks be to God

Reading Options

Benedict XVI, General Audience, May 15, 2005

This attitude of faith leads men and women to recognize the power of God who works in history and thus to open themselves to feeling awe for the name of the Lord… In fact, this “fear” is not fright, it does not denote fear, for fear of God is something quite different. It is recognition of the mystery of divine transcendence. Thus, it is at the root of faith and is interwoven with love. Sacred Scripture says in Deuteronomy: “What does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and… to love… the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul” (cf. Dt 10: 12). As St Hilary of Poitiers, a fourth-century Bishop, said: “All our fear is in love”.

Martin, The Fulfillment of All Desire, p. 55

Today, there is a great aversion to an appropriate fear of the Lord. And consequently, there is a great trivialization of love and a great foolishness as regards relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is a gift of God; it is not opposed to love, but prepares for it. Fear of the Lord and love of the Lord go together. One of the reasons why there has been so much foolishness in the Church and in the world is because there has been so much lack of fear of the Lord.

Interior Dialogue

We take time for a peaceful, receptive pause to converse with God, to listen, and to embrace God’s inspiration and consolation. Resist the urge to rush!

These questions may provide topics to begin this dialogue with the Lord. Do not be afraid to answer honestly, because the Lord already sees our heart and loves us despite our imperfections. For groups, a leader can read the following lines slowly, and allow a minute or two of silence after each.

Come Holy Spirit! You are so close and so familiar that I sometimes forget Your greatness. Don’t let it be only the moments when I am faced with great joy or turmoil that I suddenly remember You and rediscover a sense of awe in Your presence. Help me to experience Your greatness regularly in prayer, so that it becomes the foundation of my life.

Pause for personal prayer

Come Holy Spirit! I come before You as a sinner. I am aware of my failures and mistakes. Help me to be grateful for Your mercy and to humbly ask for forgiveness. Don’t let me see my imperfections only with guilt and shame, but as an opportunity. In working to overcome them I can offer a great act of love for You.

Pause for personal prayer


To prepare our hearts to be receptive of the gift of Fear of the Lord, we turn to the Holy Spirit and ask with fervor and trust

// Spirit of Confidence, give us awe for the Father’s love

In even the most difficult circumstances, that we would be filled with an unshakable trust and confidence in God’s plan. Let us pray

// Spirit of Confidence, give us awe for the Father’s love

That our hearts would be filled with a desire to love and serve God above anything else. Let us pray

// Spirit of Confidence, give us awe for the Father’s love

When Christians are silenced for standing up for what is true and good, that we may remain strong and meek like Jesus during His passion and find support in the Holy Spirit’s peace. Let us pray

// Spirit of Confidence, give us awe for the Father’s love

Let us pause to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us where we need a greater sense of reverence for God.

When are we afraid of being God’s witnesses? How can we allow the Holy Spirit to push us forward with boldness through the rough waves despite our fear of what the world thinks?

This is a moment to insert our own petition. It should be very personal.

Let us pray

// Spirit of Confidence, give us awe for the Father’s love

Closing Prayer

Let us pray,

Holy Spirit, free us from the temptation to follow whatever is popular and comfortable. We beg You to fill us with such awe for the Father’s love that we become as bold as the first Apostles, who proclaimed Jesus’ name to the ends of the world. Let us never be ashamed of belonging to You! Allow us to experience Your love so deeply in our lives, that, in spite of our weaknesses and any obstacles we may face, we may be filled with Your peace, confidence, and strength.

We ask this through Christ our Lord // Amen

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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Optional Study

What is the Gift of Fear of the Lord?

If we think back to when we were small children, most of us will remember feeling that our parents knew everything and could do anything. We needed them; we loved them; we trusted them with an unquestioning confidence. The fear of punishment may have prevented us from doing all sorts of dumb things, but the deeper motivation for most of us would have been the attention and praise we sought from the most important people in our lives.

Fear of the Lord perfects two virtues: temperance and hope. The virtue of temperance helps us properly moderate our desire for pleasure. It’s like that restraint a child has that keeps them from doing what might get them in trouble. Hope is trust in God, but it isn’t just an idea—hope is lived in our concrete decisions. We act differently, because we trust in God’s promises. This leads us to put our relationship with Him before everything else. Hope is even greater than temperance, because it doesn’t just prevent us from doing evil, but motivates us to even heroic action.

Beyond Human Capacities

The gift of Fear of the Lord gives us an unshakable confidence in God. It takes the foundational virtues of hope and temperance and pushes us beyond our natural capacity. We are drawn to love God above all else, and are able to put everything else aside.

Much of the spiritual life is simply about learning to value and enjoy what is truly the best, above what is just good. We learn to put things in their place, and build our lives around what really matters. Returning to our metaphor of the sailboat, most people are content to remain on the beach and play in the sand. They don’t realize the amazing adventure they are called to. This type of person “does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it.” (1 Cor 2:14)

In contrast, the sailor standing on the beach has such a different perspective—their heart is set on the water! They don’t want to remain on the shore; they can’t! The wind and the waves and the challenge of it calls to them. Of course they see the danger, but they are full of confidence and long to go out to sea.

This novena is meant to challenge all Christians to be aware of God’s invitation to let go of the comforts of the beach and the ease of the calm shallows. The Holy Spirit doesn’t want mediocre. He wants to bring out the hero in us; He wants heroic sanctity that can only happen when we leave the safety of the shore and let Him fill our sails.

What Can We Do? Prepare Our Hearts!

Frequent meditation on God’s awesomeness can prepare our hearts for the great adventure that comes from unquestioning confidence in Him. A good way to do this is by slowly reading stories in the Bible that highlight God’s love for His people throughout history, and by reflecting on His goodness.

Rediscovering the wonder of God can also be cultivated by a prayerful review of our own lives. We see the events that have happened, and try to remember all the moments where God—through our joys and trials—has already revealed to us His love and care.