Come Holy Spirit

This is a guest blog by Dan Heroy – you can find out more about Dan at his Facebook page

“Come Holy Spirit!”

“We invite the Holy Spirit into this place.”

“The Holy Spirit really showed up this morning!”

If you have been a Christian for any amount of time you have no doubt heard these expressions. In fact you have probably said at least one of them yourself. I know I have! Many believers today often open up church services or worship meetings with prayers like “come, Holy Spirit!” Yet I suspect these prayers may not need to be prayed. Indeed, they may actually cause more harm than good. Allow me to explain…

As a Christian I believe that any person who puts their faith (active trust) in Jesus is given the Holy Spirit. He is described in the Bible as a “seal” we have been given (2Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13, Eph. 4:30), and as a promised gift from God (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:45). Throughout the New Testament, ever after God first poured out the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost, believers were “filled” with the Holy Spirit. Yet there is no account in any of the New Testament writings that shows a Christian asking for the Holy Spirit to come. Nor will you hear an instruction from the Apostle Paul telling churches to ask for the Holy Spirit to come in a greater measure. You can look all you want; I have, and there’s no sign of it.

Instead, you will hear over and over again the scripture writers and early church leaders telling the believers that they have the Holy Spirit and teaching them how to enjoy Him and not neglect this amazing gift. Even when the disciples gathered in the upper room in Acts 2 they were not praying “Holy Spirit come”; they were simply gathered together and the Holy Spirit came!

Since that day Christians have gotten to enjoy and partake of the most amazing gift on earth…

a continual, abiding presence and communion with the Holy Spirit who lives inside each one of us. In fact, Jesus said it would actually be better for us if He left so that we could partake of that amazing reality (John 16:7). Now I don’t believe God is someone who would give us this amazing gift, one better than having Jesus on earth in the flesh, and then constantly have it coming and going from our lives unless we remember to say the “magic prayer” before a church meeting or a difficult math test. The Holy Spirit doesnʼt just show up in a pinch. He doesnʼt leave us when we sin. He is continually dwelling in us (1Tim. 1:14). We are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19).

In Acts chapter 4 it says that those gathered were “filled” with the Holy Spirit. This is after the initial filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. This account is describing their state of existence, that of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit, its not saying that this was some particularly anointed meeting to which the Holy Spirit “came.” To be filled is to be FULLfilled. It is a sense of completion and fulfillment. Nothing is lacking in the person who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The reality of those gathered in Acts 4 is the same reality that they walked in before that prayer meeting, and its the same reality that we walk in today. We, along with them, are filled continuously with the Holy Spirit. At times this is manifested in more tangible and experiential ways. Many times when these manifestations happen in scripture we are reminded that these people were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:9). They had the Holy Spirit both before this manifestation happened and after; it is just being noted that they were filled with the Holy Spirit in every situation.

We have access to the Holy Spirit before, during, and after an anointed worship service happens. Even if the songs are sung off key and the guitarist breaks a string and we don’t “welcome the Holy Spirit” into the meeting, He is just as much there in us as He is when everything goes differently and the worship leader sings our favorite songs on key and we can feel His presence stronger. The option is always there for us to feel and experience the presence of the Spirit who is in us. It is up to us to believe He is always there or not.

My desire with this writing and in my life is to see us celebrate the abiding reality of the Holy Spirit in our lives more and to stop focusing so much on getting Him to “show up”. There are implications to the prayers of “come Holy Spirit” and the like: they imply He is not here now, He needs to come, I will tell Him to come, and then He comes…good Holy Spirit! We do all that instead of celebrating Him in our midst as the Apostles instructed and led us to do.

Now, if your pastor or leader prays one of these prayers inviting the Holy Spirit, please do not rebuke them! That is not the point of this writing. I am only trying to present the fact that we do not need to spend so much time focusing on and praying for something that is already a reality. The people who pray those prayers do so with the best of intentions. I just believe that God’s answer to those prayers is this:

“Iʼm already here.”

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  1. As soon as I began to read this I began to get excited about the progression of the Church in our day. We are learning and maturing and growing and we are attaining to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

    Thanks for writing!

  2. This line jumped out at me…

    “they were simply gathered together and the Holy Spirit came!’

    After reading different books on ‘revivals’ like Azusa, I had a gut feeling they weren’t looking for ‘revival’ but were just seeking God. I really think that the term ‘revival’ is man’s attempt to label something we don’t know have a handle on.

  3. Thanks for that.  I agree with you.  I have just been to worship practice and a song being sung was inviting the Holy Spirit to come… we need to feel your presence.  My thought is that we should really sing, thanks Holy Spirit for being here already and residing withing.  And does it make any difference if we don’t feel His presence, the truth remains… he is here, omnipresent at that!

  4. On the one hand, I understand where you are coming from.  I too have been in meetings where people wailed and cried out for God to “come”.  It left me very confused and wondering how that fit with “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And I confess that through religious pressure from without and within, I joined them at times.  But always, I felt like a big phoney.  And nothing good ever happened as a result. 

    On the other hand, there is a desire that each of us has to experience Jesus through Holy Spirit’s presence.  He is always here, but we don’t always perceive the heavenly realm nor do we always tune in to His voice.  THere is a place for prayer that draws us to set all our burdens down at His feet, to listen and to get swept away in holy union and ecstasy with Him! I think we can compare it to a marriage — we always have our spouse, but we long for moments of intimacy with them at times, where our physical union brings us to ecstasy in that highest of expressions of love. There is nothing wrong with wanting your spouse in this way, in fact, when that longing ceases to be, that is a sign of great trouble in a marriage!

    I think perhaps this crying out for Holy Spirit to come may have started as an innocent longing for this ecstasy of union, which He would not only honour, but encourage us to pursue!  I think it has been twisted by Satan to be this desperate crying out for something as if we do not already have it.  

    We are married to the Bridegroom.  Let us encourage this hunger to experience deep moments of ecstasy in His Glorious presence and only discourage the mindset that He is not already present, willing, and desirous to pour this Glory in us and on us, in ever increasing measures!

    • Thanks so much for sharing Crissy those are great points.

      Knowing Dan, I don’t think he would say he wants to see there be no desire for experiencing intimacy with the Lord and being aware of His presence. I think he is more keen for us to use an appropriate language for that desire.
      I’m sure he will comment also though :)

      Bless you my friend!

    • Hello Crissy,
      I am Dan (who wrote this article). As far as I can tell we are really on the same page when it comes to this. As Phil mentioned… I am not in any way belittling desire for the Lord! I am all for passion and desire towards the Lord! The whole point is to not get caught up in the endless cycles of prayers and catch phrases that leave us feeling like God, Holy Spirit is not “here” or not here as much as He could or should be. The entire concept of “crying out” for the Holy Spirit to “come” is very difficult for me to grasp. We spend so much time in the church doing that, that we miss out on the experience and love that we get to enjoy with the Holy Spirit through our unbroken union Christ has purchased for all believers. To also compare it to a marriage relationship… how would a spouse feel if we spent every night, or every date, begging for them to be there, and asking for more of them. They would be very frustrated that we are not enjoying their presence in those moments. The more we are AWARE of the presence of our God or our spouse the more we can enjoy them and all that those relationships have to offer. But we can always have our desire and passion turned on, and ever increasing. Blessings, thanks for reading and responding.

      • Thanks Phil and Dan!  Love you brothers!  Thanks for clarifying Dan.  Yes I would say we are definitely on the same page.  
        I do see a lot of chat lately on this issue and people (such as yourself, bless you) are exposing this crying out for God – as if we don’t already have Him – as coming from a lie of the enemy, and rightly so.  He meant it when He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.  I hate the religious soul beatings people take, thinking they need to whip themselves into a state of worthiness so God will “come” to them and answer their desperation. 

        There is a place for incredible desire and strong yearning that God actually gives us to draw us into deep encounters of communion with Him.  It is like a Lover enticing the spouse to the bedroom of intimacy.  It is not from a place of desperation where the heart wonders  “where are you?… I need you and don’t have you” but rather, “you are mine, now lets celebrate our love in ever increasing intimacy”. 

        I too wish our songs and prayers in meetings would reflect this heart rather than the stance of fear and doubt.  Good conversation.  Thanks Brothers.  So nice to e-meet you Dan, the author of these words.   Bless you!

  5. Thanks for this! I love the clarification you give in regards to the many times in acts when it references So and So “being filled with the Holy Spirit” as simply describing or highlighting the state they already were in. It wasn’t a new infilling. That’s such good news for every believer to know that we’re already filled in that same way! Thanks Dan and Phil. This blog is blessing me and my friends so much!

  6. Ok, so please help me understand passages like Acts 8:16 and then the beginning of Chapter 19. Although I think the Acts 19 one is pretty simple.

    I know the Spirit is given and is a seal and I understand the principle that He is with us. makes sense. Just trying to make sense of other passages the talk about people not having yet received the Spirit.

    • Warren – I don’t think anyone here is saying that everyone already has the Spirit… I think we are just saying that to ask Him to come into a room full of believers worshiping Him is extremely redundant :)

  7. Phil, I praise God for the growing number of those who teach us to live free in Christ, fully acknowledging that Grace alone makes this possible. The HS has been teaching me many of these same truths since I came to understand that I had no understanding of Grace previously. This article confirms yet another truth He has begun to teach me. Which brings me to my question. Having previously spent much time in the Charismatic movement I always accepted the “signs” etc. I am beginning to wonder about healing as a sign. I know that signs followed the apostles, but are signs for the believer today? Specifically, I am thinking, healing for the believer is a right of the covenant, we walk in health as we more clearly see our identity correctly and believe fully the FINISHED work of Christ and His cross. Then I am wondering, as far as unbelievers are concerned, I used to think that signs such as healing were to draw the world as evidence of the truth of His message. But I am thinking that if we speak His truth correctly and bring them to a full understanding of Grace, then they will become part of the body and walk in health as they now are under the new covenant of which healing is a promise and benefit. I definitely don’t see scriptural backing for huge healing services and long prayer lines. I don’t believe the gifts have ceased (then how would I explain the gift of toungues I received many years ago) maybe you can just help me reconcile some of this. The Holy Spirit is still formulating this in me so let me know if I am way off. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Dianne,

      I think we are called to heal the sick. The scriptures don’t qualify that the sick must be believers (if anything they, as you talk about in your comment, have less reason to be sick).

      We frequently see Jesus and the apostles healing people who are not of faith and so I think we should in our walk with God be healing those around us… especially as unbelievers.

      At least that’s what I believe.

  8. Amen, keep on teaching of the New Covenant brother! The mystery of the gospel; Christ IN us. So many times i hear these pleas for God’s presence to “enter our sanctuary” and it’s like a type of spiritual amnesia strongly blinds us by what we must do for God instead of a revelation of Christ Himself, His finished work and who we are In Him. He fulfilled the Law and He lives in us so we can become active participants of His Divine nature. If we corporately adopt our identity as a Kingdom of Priest’s who minister unto the Lord and receive specifically what His blood offered in the heavenly Holy of holies accomplished; walking in His Holy Spirit is a natural byproduct as we reflect God’s glory, mercy and power unto others in a very natural/supernatural manner. This website has me excited and is the one which best reflects what has been burning in my heart for decades for Christ’s Body to receive. New Blood, New Covenant, New Priesthood, New Law, New Temple, New Creation = a pure and enduring Jesus movement revival where the first is really the last and the “lowest” really is the “greatest.” Those religious and cultic “things” must flee with revelation of Jesus Christ the High Priest of the New Covenant we are born again into.. Thanks Phil!

  9. Reading some of your blogs, I’ve noticed for the first time TRUE, REAL LOVE in the Body of Christ… FINALLY. I have somewhere to go when I have a question now.
    I’ve left the church bldg. and became very upset with the behaviors of the church and their beliefs.
    The way you respond to people with such respect and concern, Phil, is beyond words. That in itself has blessed me so much.
    I also see that by reading this blog, that God is showing me how I’ve gotten mad at him, because He “so called” DIDN’T SHOW UP, (manifest) …even though I knew in the scriptures that He taught us, “He never leaves us, nor forsakes us.” so I was wrong. There is so much I need to learn. These blogs, your website, articles, book, and everything you post, are extremely vital for growth within us. I must have the Truth & God was so gracious to lead me to your stuff. THANK YOU! Eternally grateful, Donna

    • Thanks Donna – so encouraged to hear that you’ve been blessed by this blog. Please do keep in touch! :)

  10. Thanks Phil!

    I really enjoyed this article! As a musician I have come across so many faulty songs that people sing. Recently there is a song with lyrics that say, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.” Every time I hear it I get that since that, like you wrote, the Holy Spirit is saying, “I’m already here.”

    • Yup – there are so many of these songs Caleb! Sometimes I get the heart of it and can sign along, other times I have to change the lyrics on the fly… other times I have to just laugh… because if I don’t I’d want to cry that so many people are genuine in their belief that He isn’t there!

  11. I love the “they gathered together and the Holy Spirit came…” part. I agree with your point, though, similar to an above comment, I believe I need to re-focus my mind, by “inviting” the Holy Spirit to come. I know He is present but I am not. I should probably say, ‘Lord, I invite my mind to re-join Your presence.’ Haha!!!

    This question has come to my mind because I shared a lovely song with two friends. One of them flatly told me, “I did not like that song…” He went on to explain “how it continued to say, “Holy Ghost won’t you come,” “ adding, “The Holy Spirit is already with us.” I have now pondered his words for two months, asking the Lord for His wisdom.

    Many times I have seen or felt a very ‘dry’ service or worship time compared to a time of intimate closeness, obviously, an atmosphere filled with the Lord’s Spirit or presence. Maybe the Holy Spirit is there but when our hearts are in one accord the Lord God Almighty joins us, by making His presence known? Who knows? In time I am sure the Lord will reveal this mystery to me, as I continue to seek an answer. :-)!

    Thanks for your article. I am glad I read it and I will hold onto a few of your Godly perspectives.


  12. When we say ‘We welcome you Holy Spirit’, ‘Come Holy Spirit’…and so on is like simply acknowledgement of His presence and allowing His time and will.

    For example, we are in a meeting and here come the guest speaker. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Mr. P Drysdale and everyone stands up and applauses.

    Why do we need to welcome Mr Drysdale as he is already in the room, everybody saw his name on the flyers. In fact, he is the only reason why they came to the meeting.

    The reason we welcome him to the stage is not because he wasn’t there, it’s because we acknowledge his presence, we submit the whole program to his hand and willing to give all the attention to him.

    It is exactly the same with the Holy Spirit. We know that he lives in us, but yet we welcome Him to our midst to acknowledge his presence, submit ourselves and willing to give all of our attention. Simply an expression of our worship to Him. I don’t see anything wrong with welcoming Him and make Him in charge of our lives. Worship is not a worship untill you express that worship.

    Hope it helps.

    • Hi David. Thanks for your thoughts on the article. I was the one who wrote this blog and just wanted to take a brief moment to respond, maybe clarify a thing or two.
      What you were talking about and explaining was “welcoming” the Holy Spirit or in your exact example a speaker into a room. I would say that the word “welcome” and “come” are very different in meaning and understanding however. And in my article I was not talking in any way about the Holy Spirit being “welcomed” in a place or not. I was talking about using the phrase “come” and the confusing implications that can have. Now to comment on your example you used, I think the analogy is not a fair one in the sense that a speaker is not always present in your life. Whereas the Holy Spirit is I believe. If someone wants the great pleasure of having Phil Drysdale speak at a meeting they must first say “come.” Which each and every leader who wants to invite Phil says, including myself when I invite him! Now, once Phil has arrived people say “welcome.” We are glad to have you here, and so on. The Holy Spirit is different I believe because we can always welcome Him and His presence and be thankful for the union we have with Him, etc… but to ask, beg, sing for Him to “come” is an entirely different thing all together. Thats what I was writing about. Thanks for reading and commenting! Blessings.

    • I too think that when people in church ask the Holy Spirit to “come” to their gathering, they are merely expressing their wish for Him to manifest His presence to them while they are gathered together to worship. I think the Lord is gracious enough to us through His love for us, that He understands the desires of our hearts. Of course He does, He is God!!! We already know that He DWELLS (permanently resides) in us! But do we always “feel” His presence? No. Even David wrote in Psalms, asking the Lord

      “Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11

      So If David asked that of God, why would we also not ask Him to give us His presence as well? God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit discern our hearts desire. I think it is ok, if we use the word “come” as opposed to “welcome” … We are only human. :-)

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