Danny Morris ~ The Gift of Spiritual Intuition


Intuition is a direct knowledge or awareness of something without conscious attention or reasoning; it is non-intellectual perception. Nothing innately spiritual is either stated or implied in that definition. When a person allows the Holy Spirit to take control of his or her natural intuition, the result is spiritual intuition. Discernment through spiritual intuition provides deeper understanding and expands the boundaries of awareness.

God communicates; and a human being with a sensitive spiritual intuition may process what God communicated. This suggests a strategy God uses much of the time: God teams up with human beings and relies upon us to respond to divine promptings.

That communication is the pivotal point of everything described in this article. In this event the intuitive response of team work, and God’s providential care, were at their highest levels.

When defining spiritual intuition it is a marvel think that God can put an idea into someone’s mind, and that person can comprehend that idea, and immediately act with unquestioning determination; it is a remarkable wonder! God has freely given each of us this capacity. We get little nudges—feelings that this or that should be done or not done. We get hunches and leadings, signs and signals, and sometimes direct messages. Many persons have related experiences of God’s direct communication.

The next time you experience spiritual intuition, put away worry about what others will think. Instead, carefully consider your leading. Test it with spiritual friends. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

The Gift of Spiritual Intuition: A Case Study

Rosalie and I were privileged to spend some vacation days on the Island of Kauai. On the first afternoon, we had an experience of a remarkable kind of spiritual discernment-spiritual intuition.

We decided to go shopping in one of the colorful hotel shops. I was eager to get an elegant Hawaiian shirt. I had passed over several shirts and was on my way to making a final choice when Rosalie said, “let’s go to the beach.” I said, “help me select my shirt and I’ll wear it to the beach!”

Intuition at Work in Real Time

“No!” she insisted, “we can look for a shirt later.” She took two shirts out of my hands, laid them aside, and with a strong grip on my wrist led me out of the store against my protest. She said, “Come on. I want to go to the beach!” I was shocked, because she is not a “beach person.”

Surprisingly, the beach was almost deserted, which was unusual for 6:00 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We saw only a woman and a man on the beach. The man ran down the beach, leaving the woman alone. We were perhaps 50 yards from her. She seemed to be shouting to us, but we couldn’t hear her because of the wind. Finally, we heard her scream, “my husband is drowning in the surf!” (She had told the stranger and he had gone to find help, but he ran in the wrong direction.)

God’s Helpers

I sprinted toward the hotel for help. Rosalie ran into four lanes of slow-moving traffic and stopped a car. The two motorists dashed across the beach and charged into the roaring surf.

By the time I returned from the hotel with help, they had pulled the man to shore. Rosalie, a registered nurse, was bent over the man’s inert form, applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Because of exhaustion the two men were prostrate on the beach. The man had already turned blue then chalky-white around his mouth and in his hands and feet. We were losing!

Another Helper

A crowd quickly gathered. A doctor rushed up and quickly went into action. “We have about 15 seconds!” he declared as he applied oxygen that had been brought from the hotel. He began to pump his chest and yell, “Breathe man! You’ve got to breathe!” He hit him on his chest a couple of more times. “Breathe man! Breathe.” Miraculously, he struggled for breath. Then another breath! And another! By the time the ambulance arrived he was breathing and some color had returned to his face, hands and feet.

Talk about God’s providential care!

Consider this list of provisions:

-Rosalie and I were the only persons on the beach, except the man’s wife and a passer-by she had sent for help.

-Rosalie is a registered nurse and trained in CPR.

-The two men she flagged (the only car that stopped) were native to that island, were young, expert swimmers, and were trained as EMTs.

-If I had not run to the hotel, we would not have had the oxygen.

-The doctor who ran out to help was a cardiologist.

Coming down to the wire with fifteen seconds to go… if I had looked at one more shirt we would have been too late! The uncanny sequence of events laid end-to-end like dominoes was miraculous! What began as a leisurely shopping expedition turned into an unforgettable afternoon.

As I recall this experience, I realize that at the time I was not particularly surprised by Rosalie’s out-of-the-blue insistence that we go to the beach. Often, I have wondered whether she was standing in light I couldn’t see or was just being stubborn. But spiritual intuition is not the same as stubbornness. Earlier, we said intuition is a direct knowledge or awareness of something without conscious attention or reasoning; it is non-intellectual perception.

The Big Question

After this episode occurred, I tried to sort out “what happened” on the beach that day. My mind keeps going back to the abundance of God’s providential care.

But there is something more profound than the unusual events on the beach. I am intrigued by the question: where was God that day? Is it fair to say that God was not on the beach-only a couple of EMT’s, a nurse, a doctor, and a few other helpers?

Perhaps God’s will was mediated in two parts:

(1) God communicated in the shirt shop . . .

(2) . . . causing a human being to respond.

Would that make God’s communication in the shirt shop the sum total of God’s intervention? Could it be that God was actually involved only in the shirt shop where God communicated?

It is clear that a human being with a sensitive spiritual intuition processed what God communicated. That does not diminish God’s part. Rather, it suggests a strategy God uses much of the time: God teams up with people and relies upon us to respond to divine promptings with redemptive acts. Communication was the pivotal point of everything that followed and the intuitive responses from several people were exceptional teamwork.

Those ministries of care on the beach were essential. But they seem less dramatic than God’s act of communication, and Rosalie’s response to that communication in the shirt shop. That seems perhaps the most phenomenal event of that day.

To think that God could put an idea into someone’s mind, and that person could comprehend that idea, and immediately act upon it with determination – what a remarkable wonder! A second wonder is that God has given all of us this capacity. God communicates with all of us: we get little nudges-feeling that this or that should be done, or not done; we get hunches and leadings, signs and signals, and sometimes direct messages.

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you nudges, hunches, leadings, signs and signals, and direct messages. Any of these is more precious than a precious stone.This prayer to the Holy Spirit is so important, it must be prayed over and over and over.

After “all was well” on the beach we went to the man’s hotel room to tell his relatives what had happened.

Then, we went to our room-in awe of everything!



Danny Morris is a retired United Methodist Minister. He served as a staff member of the General Board of Discipleship and The Upper Room, and played a signal role in developing spiritual formation resources, among those, the Academy of Spiritual Formation, The Five-day Academy, and The Living Prayer Center. He also helped guide the transition of the Catholic Cursillo into The Walk to Emmaus, which recently welcomed the one millionth Pilgrim. Danny is the author of a number of books in the area of discipleship and spiritual formation and with Chuck Olsen co-authored Discovering God’s Will Together, which has become a foundational book on discernment.