Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would “guide (us) into all the truth” (John 16:13). What does that mean, and how can we experience it?

You may be familiar with the truths found in Proverbs 3:5,6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

You may not know the very next line: “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:7).  

We spend our entire lives trying to figure things out, and we’re proud of what we think we know. Unfortunately, the first step towards a life guided by the Holy Spirit is assuming we’re at least a little bit wrong about absolutely everything!

One, we never have all the facts. Two, our confirmation biases blind us to things we don’t want to see because the truth challenges our thinking. And three, the devil works day and night to decieve us.

When the Holy Spirit grant(s) (us) repentance leading (us) to a knowledge of the truth,” we come to (our) senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken (us) captive to do his will.” When he guides us into truth, he’s guiding us out of lies and bondage. Revelation is deliverance! It’s that important.

There are three kinds of information the Holy Spirit shares with us: insight, hindsight, and foresight.


I think of insight as information about our current life. Maybe we’re struggling with anxiety, or are increasingly frustrated at work. We may be at a loss about how to parent our kids, or find ourselves losing sleep at night. 


Hindsight is insight about what’s already happened. I come to see now, in the present, what I need to learn from my past. This is critically important, because we almost always draw the wrong conclusions about what’s happened to us. Satan loves to plant lies in our personal narratives.


Foresight is about seeing what’s coming. This can include wise forecasting or anticipation of cause and effect, but can also include Holy Spirit ‘intel’ in the moment about how to prepare for the future.

The process

Sometimes we get flashes of insight from God. I’m so thankful when this happens. But most of the time, the Holy Spirit guides us into truth. Whether his guidance comes through scripture or other means, it implies a journey. Illumination is process of gradual understanding, like the sun creeping out from the night to give us the full dawn of day.

Personally, I capture these ‘not-random’ insights as they come to me in my prayer journal. My friend Kar describes them as puzzle-pieces that gradually combine to give us AHA! moments with God. We must be patient with the process!

The point

The Father isn’t just interested in giving you correct information. The reason illumination happens as part of a larger process is that we tend to resist the truth in large doses, and he’s just as interested in growing your friendship and trust as he is with getting you where you need to go. Often, he’d rather have an ongoing conversation stretching over two weeks than dumping all the information into your lap. I think that’s what we ultimately want too.

The prayer

My prayer is comprised of two simple parts. First, “Holy Spirit, come and guide me into all truth.” I know Jesus has promised, so I anticipate his guidance. And second, “What would you like me to know about this?” The ‘this’ refers to the unknown or the issue I’m curious about in my past, present, or future. The prayer works for all three, because it starts a conversation with God about your life. 

I recommend stopping for a beat several times per day to pray this way. Slow down, listen, and he will speak. 

What stood out to you about this post? Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk!


The world is a discouraging place, but you can become a Master Encourager who ignites an encouragement revolution!