The Holy Spirit and Worship

Summary: The Holy Spirit is a powerful ally in our walk with Jesus. As disciples of Jesus, we need to get familiar with the Holy Spirit and grow in our relationship with Him.


In my last post, I talked about Jesus’ statement about how we can worship “in spirit and truth.” In this post, I want to expound the prospects of the Holy Spirit ministering to and through you and worship.

My whole life, I’ve been involved with Pentecostal churches. Speaking about the Holy Spirit comes more easily to me than most. I’m not naïve enough to think everyone has my point of view. So, I want to begin this post by talking about the Holy Spirit for Christians who do not have a robust theology of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve found many Christians believe in the Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity, but beyond that and a few sub points to this major doctrine, they don’t have much more about the Holy Spirit. This leaves many Christians with a head knowledge of the Holy Spirit, but not much more than that.

So, how do we become open to the Holy Spirit and what He wants to do in us and through us in worship? The disciple of Jesus must cultivate an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. He does so much in our spiritual formation, but we don’t talk about and taught about Him enough. Let’s dive in!

The Friend in Your Closet

Because many Christians don’t know what to do with the Holy Spirit, He appears to them as an oddity in the Trinity. It’s easier to understand God the Father as One who plans and prepares us for a relationship with Jesus. Jesus may be the most familiar member of the Trinity to us.

We can relate to someone who has walked in our shoes, become one of us, and does the “heavy lifting” of our salvation. But the Holy Spirit is harder to incorporate into our understanding and practice. He becomes a Friend in our closet. We don’t know how to interact with Him or what He does.

This is not a criticism. It’s an observation of the reality of asking, “What do I do with the Holy Spirit? As we continue throughout this Conformed to Christ spiritual formations series, I will cover many ways the Holy Spirit is deeply involved in our spiritual formation. So, I will begin by talking about the Holy Spirit’s involvement in worship.

The Holy Spirit is much more than the Friend in your closet. You and I must get to know Him better and cultivate a deeper relationship with Him. There’s no better place to start than in our personal and corporate worship settings.

Warming up to the Holy Spirit

Some of the best ways to get closer to the Holy Spirit in your walk with Jesus are through prayer and worship. The Bible talks about how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, helping us to pray in the alignment with God’s will (Romans 8:26-30).

Just as the Holy Spirit helps us pray, He also provides a prayer language when Jesus baptizes us In the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-13). Paul talks about our prayer language and how the Holy Spirit connects with us (1 Corinthians 14:14-18; 13:1).

This is a powerful way to connect with the Spirit. Your prayer language is how the Holy Spirit ministers to you and in you. This is the first step to be effective in ministering through the Spirit to those around you in public worship.

As you warm up to the Holy Spirit and continue to learn from Him, He ministers through you in public worship settings and with other Christians. He is not just for you. He is for the body of Christ.

Inviting the Holy Spirit

If you think it’s strange to talk about inviting the Holy Spirit into the worship service or into your personal worship experience because God is everywhere present all the time, consider that it’s not for our benefit that we invite the Holy Spirit.

God is already there when we begin to worship Him. But we are not always prepared to receive Him and minister to others through the Holy Spirit. Some Sunday mornings before you even get to the church or group of believers, life happens and you are not in the proper mindset to worship the Lord.

You may need the Holy Spirit to minister to you and prepare your heart to worship Jesus and give Him glory. Inviting the Holy Spirit to minister in and through you prepares you to receive from Him and allow Him to minister to others around you.

We want the Holy Spirit to know we are prepared to receive Him. So, inviting the Holy Spirit into a worship service, or to ask Him to fill this place is to welcome Him and let Him know you gladly hand over any problems you have so the Holy Spirit can use you. You want the Holy Spirit to have His way instead of yours.

Enjoying the Holy Spirit

This may sound strange to some Christians, but the Holy Spirit wants you to enjoy His presence as much as He enjoys ministering to and through you. When you develop a deep, intimate relationship with the Spirit, you can understand why Paul talks about praying in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14-15) and building yourself up in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:4).

People who use their prayer language to speak in tongues speak to God, not to people (1 Corinthians 14:2). The Holy Spirit means to minister to you first through this special relationship. It’s not meant for the public worship setting.

But that special relationship turns outward to minister to other people. The Holy Spirit doesn’t only want to have a relationship with you, but He wants to minister through you to affect the lives of those who need His ministry.

So, you can see why Paul talks about personal prayer languages and how the Holy Spirit ministers through speaking in tongues to ourselves first, and then He turns to minister to others in the service through the spiritual gifts.

Some people find it confusing that Paul talks about both personal and corporate ministry by the Holy Spirit. It’s not meant to be confusing. If you read closely, you can see where he talks about a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, and then public ministry with the Holy Spirit.

So, allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you first. Then let that personal ministry time bubble over into public ministry with the Holy Spirit as He ministers to others through you.

The Holy Spirit Within

I alluded to this already, but I want to verify how the Bible explains the Holy Spirit in you. In the old covenant (Old Testament), the Holy Spirit only came upon a few people in Israel. Those who were anointed for ministry, such as prophets, priests, and kings, were anointed to carry out the duties of their office.

One of the great promises of the new covenant (New Testament) is that the Holy Spirit will come upon everyone, so that even people who have no social standing, like maidservants and manservants can become ministers through the power of the Holy Spirit in them (Joel 2:28-29).

In the New Testament, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit as a Comforter who comes alongside us, ministering to us (John 14:16-17). He tells His disciples He must leave so the Holy Spirit can come to them, and to us (John 16:7).

The Holy Spirit is our Helper to guide us into truth (John 16:12-15) and convict the world of sin (John 16:8-11). He is powerful in His works. And we get to be a part of what He is doing in His church.

The Holy Spirit’s Ministries

Paul talks about the Holy Spirit in many contexts. But one of the best ways He ministers to us is through the gifts. You will find many lists of the gifts and ways the Holy Spirit ministers through us throughout the New Testament (Ephesians 4:11; Romans: 6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Peter 4:9-11).

I’ve given extensive teaching and training on the gifts of the Holy Spirit elsewhere on my blog. There’s a group of training blogs with my Seek the Gifts series. You are welcome to look at the resources on my blog to discover more about the gifts.

We are blessed to become ministers of the Holy Spirit, Him ministering through us to touch the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a privilege to become vessels of the power of the Holy Spirit!

Freedom in the Spirit

I have  posts on how the Holy Spirit ministers in and through you from 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14, and other posts on my website. To see how the Holy Spirit ministers in and through you in the private and public worship settings, check out my in-depth teaching on these chapters.

When the Holy Spirit is in charge, He brings the freedom of Christ among us (2 Corinthians 3:17). This is the freedom Jesus brings us (Galatians 5:1). Paul urges us to walk with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).

Let us continue to be led by the Spirit in our lives in this freedom. He is a great Helper Jesus sent in His place until His return. He wants to minister to us, and then through us. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit as part of salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). We have a true Friend who gives us a foretaste of what it would be like to dwell with Jesus in heaven forever.

Growth Challenge

Study the Bible concerning the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Sit under biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grow in your relationship with Him. Seek after the Spirit. Grow in your gifts to serve God’s people around you.

Up Next

We have finished our talks about worship for the disciple of Jesus. Next, I will move on in our discussion of spiritual disciplines to three closely related disciplines of submission, solitude, silence, and simplicity.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.