When the Spirit Falls


This last Sunday, I was helming the drums during a worship song our lead guitarist had written, when the Holy Spirit fell on the church. His presence was palpable and from my spot on stage, I could see Him on people’s faces. By the time we segued into “The Beauty of Simplicity,” I was close to weeping. Let me say this: When you’re the timekeeper, it’s not wise to go all to pieces.

Come, Holy Spirit!Now I know some people reading this may not have experienced one of those beautifully sweet times when the Holy Spirit broods over worship. He’s light permeating the darkest recesses of your soul, warm oil anointing your head, and love overflowing your heart. No words fully describe the naked encounter of your person with the person of the Holy Spirit.

I attend a pentecostal church, so this experience of the Spirit isn’t out of the ordinary. I feel for folks who don’t regularly encounter Him. I can’t imagine living one’s life and not meeting the Lord in such a sweet way, surrounded by others who praise His name.

I’m no pushover for emotionalism, either. Anyone reading this blog long enough knows I don’t stand for that. If I’m overwhelmed, it’s because God Himself showed up, not because some favorite worship song tugs my heartstrings.

Sunday’s touch proved to be the real deal. I’d only wished I’d been better prepared to receive instead of dedicating so much brain power to each timekeeping limb and upcoming musical transitions.

If one thing troubles me about these visitations of the Spirit it’s that we may be wasting them. I don’t believe He comes just to make us feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.

When the Spirit falls, I believe we need to be ready to meet Him just like the five wise virgins, with lamps filled with oil and wicks trimmed. His real Presence must be met with ready hearts, otherwise I believe we miss the fullness of the blessing He’s prepared to lavish on us.

I won’t presume to understand the heart of the Spirit in all His manifestations, for He blows as He wills, but I feel He expects the following from us when we encounter Him:

  • Repentance – First and foremost, He is the Holy Spirit. We are to be a holy people.
  • Praise – He is Lord and must be worshiped as such.
  • Reception – We are to receive Him and receive blessings from Him with praise.
  • Transformation – We are to be bettered for having met Him in that moment.

For these reasons, I believe when we encounter the Lord in this way we should do the following:

  • Confess any known sin.
  • Ask the Spirit to search our hearts for hidden sin.
  • Confess hidden sin when He reveals it.
  • Praise Him for revealing sin in our lives.
  • Praise Him for who He is.
  • Ask Him to prepare us for what we might receive from Him.
  • Ask Him to fill us with Himself, His gifts, and His direction.
  • Thank Him for meeting those needs.
  • Ask Him to transform our lives so that we are better able to serve him, so we leave the church with a greater revelation of Him to share with the community of faith and those still outside the flock.
  • Thank Him and praise Him again.

I think if we take these ten steps in the presence of the Lord, He’ll bless us so much more than if we simply bask in Him then leave unchanged after the encounter. And all too often, we walk out those church doors with less than we ought simply because we did not know how to come before Him.

Think about these things. Like Samuel, if we desire to grow up into the fullness of service the Lord asks of us, we must be ready to meet the Spirit when He comes calling.

Be blessed.

11 thoughts on “When the Spirit Falls

  1. AMEN!

    So much of the God-blogosphere is filled with rants about all that’s wrong with the church. Though the doings of various churches frequently provide ample material to launch the gazillion blogs of all us critics, what happened at your church yesterday can never happen with all of our critiquing, analysis or Great Big Brilliant Strategies.

    And what happened at your church yesterday is that for which many of us ache. Or, more accurately (and grammatically incorrect), He is Who we’re aching for…


    • Michelle,

      Thanks for stopping by. Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you!

      I critique the American Church as much as any blogger out there, but I’m not pointing fingers at minor heretics. Nor am I chastising just to get my digs in. I long to see us live up to our potential.

      For that reason, any time I critique, I provide real solutions to how we can do better. Anyone can grouse. I try to meet issues head-on and deal with them in a Christ-like way.

      If you stick around long enough, you’ll see that what gets discussed here flies under the radar of most Godblogs. I think we have a lot of blindspots, and that is what I attempt to address.

      • Hey Dan – I’m a pretty regular lurker here. I’m in the homestretch on a supersize writing project, so I have a bit of space to participate. I really appreciate your thoughtful approach and hunger for the real in the church.

  2. Heather

    This is a good post Dan.

    You said: “If one thing troubles me about these visitations of the Spirit it’s that we may be wasting them. I don’t believe He comes just to make us feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.” — I think this is where the problems with emotionlism, etc. begin, in our lack of understanding of the Holy Spirit. I agree with you that He doesn’t manifest His presence just to make us feel warm and fuzzy, but to bring us to our knees, as you said, in repentance, praise, reception and transformation.

    Thanks for sharing this morning!



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  4. James Burns

    Thanks Dan,

    As a lead worshiper I have so many things I am analyzing and processing at any given moment sometimes I know I miss the Spirit. That is really one of the hardest things about being in a church as big as mine.

    With 5 services every Sunday worship feels so restricted at times. I pray for the day when the Spirit will come down at First Christian Church and instead of worrying about getting services started on time, we will just all be on our knees before God.


  5. This has been a real “deep-thought” type of entry for me, as I come from a very un-pentacostal background, where the presence of the Spirit was not something that was considered a special event. Of course the Spirit is here. He always is. It wasn’t until college and later that I encountered those times, in small group prayer or worship times that I encountered the SPIRIT washing over us in waves of His presence. I think it becomes sort of like a drug, one wants more and more of it, simply for the feelings. We forget what that spiritual moment is for: A reminder of things to come, a warning of what some could be missing for all eternity. We should not be so focused on the feelings, as much as we should be focused on the One who calls us to be Holy as He is Holy. To that end, I think your “To Do” list is appropriate, but like Nehemiah, it should be something that we do constantly and not just when we are in the presence of the King; so that we are prepared when we are visited by the King. Like Esther making herself ready, when we enter into worship, we are entering into the presence of the One who can take away our life, merely by not bending His favor on us. Sadly, many of us treat the presence of the Spirit like a ride at Six Flags. Entertaining, a thrill, something to be sought like crack cocaine. I wonder then, whose presence are we really feeling?

  6. Steve Miller

    Dan, Thank you for all you have written here. I teach Bible students, and have been sharing some written testimonies with them of moments when the anointing or presence of the Holy Spirit has been experienced by believers as like warm oil or honey falling on the head physically. So I am engaged with your phrase “warm oil anointing your head”. May I ask: Are you saying you have felt the Holy Spirit as if like oil poured physically on your head? Do you know others who speak this way about feeling the Holy Spirit as if He can sometimes be physically felt like warm oil? It would help me in my work to learn more about what you write here. Best, Steve Miller, Canterbury, UK

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