What’s Wrong with Songs that Worship the Holy Spirit? (Part 1: Questions People Ask About the Holy Spirit)

Today I’m beginning a blog series called “Questions People Ask About the Holy Spirit”  (#HSQuestions). Thank you to everyone who submitted questions! You can still submit questions hereToday I’m answering two questions that people asked.

There are not a lot of worship songs directed to the Holy Spirit. And most songs that we do have in both history and contemporary music are prayers for the Spirit to come, but not actual worship of the Spirit.

You can sometimes find worship to the Spirit when it is directed to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Is this lack of worship of the Spirit justified?

The Bible never says we are to worship the Holy Spirit. This might seem to settle the question, but….

For the early Church, the answer was clear. In the fourth century, some heretics were arguing that the Holy Spirit was not fully divine. To reject this claim, the church responded by confessing in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381) that the Spirit is “the Lord and giver of life.” As stated in the creed, this implies that, “with the Father and the Son together [the Spirit] is worshipped and glorified.”  

When we wonder if it is okay to worship the Spirit it reveals that our doctrine of the Trinity is probably confused. When understood correctly, this historical doctrine of the church affirms that there is one God who exists as three persons or three distinct expressions.

So we can start with the affirmation that the Spirit is personal (more on that in a later post!) and fully divine and that there is only one God. The Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, but not a different being.

Is the Spirit God? Yes. Should we worship God? Yes.

On the other hand, it is natural that we don’t have so many songs to the Spirit. The Spirit is what one theologian calls the shy member of the Trinity. (I’ll write more about the place of the Spirit in the Trinity in a future post.)

That is, the Spirit points us to Jesus and the Father. The Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ teachings (John 14:26) and leads us to confess “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). And we “worship the Father in the Spirit” (John 4:23).

So, yes, we can worship the Spirit, but, at the same time, the Spirit enables our worship of the Father.

Question: Can you think of any songs that worship the Holy Spirit?

You can still submit questions here, and I will answer many of them in this blog series.

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12 Comments

  1. Great post! But I am curious as to what YOU mean by Charismatic-Pentecostal in your self description rather than just Pentecostal?

    1. I toyed with a couple different descriptions. All I mean is that I’m Pentecostal, but that as a Pentecostal I also identify with the broader Charismatic movement. The descriptor is also serves as an invitation for more than just Pentecostals to read me. Its actually fairly common in academic literature to find scholars referring to a “pentecostal-charismatic” movement or “charismatic-pentecostal” movement.

  2. Thanks for the blog, I did enjoy it, however, I must disagree. Unlike the Father & Jesus, the scripture does not direct us or instruct us to worship the Holy Spirit. God as Holy Spirit, like the Father or Son have distinct roles or “Ministries”, they all carry them out, and the humility of the Spirit never seems to draw attention to himself, but largely to the Son. In our current context of selfish worship, we are often more engaged in self gratification and not true worship. Tks

    1. Thanks for your comments. I’m not sure how worshiping the Holy Spirit would count as self-gratification. But, aside from that, while the Bible doesn’t direct us to worship the Spirit, we do find worship of the Spirit, in a sense. Paul has a doxology: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” And the most of the church recites in its liturgy of baptism Jesus’ words, “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

  3. The Holy Spirit is God, we were baptized in His name.To honor the Spirit is well understood, no need scripture to tell us specifically.It is wrong to suggest that the Scriptures did not direct us to worship God, when we were told to worship God.We Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost, in our hymns for centuries.We believe in the Trinity. God.it is our creed, our faith.

  4. Agreed!!

    Holy Spirit by Jesus Culture probably lives in between the space of direct worship and invitation, but implicitly it is a song equating God with the Spirit and with His presence.

    Also, Come to is O Lord by Young Oceans is in a similar category, and that artist’s entire collection of albums is gold.

  5. I have never undetstood thr awkwardness some have with addressing, honoring or worshiping God as in The Holy Spirit. Either He is God or He isnt and if He is God then worship is due Him.We used to find it odd or rare to have anyone say, “Come Holy Spirit” even critics who said., “you can not call God like a dog”..yet..Our Beloved Lord God, Spirit of The Almighty showed up i Great Grace, Power and Holiness.
    There are many ministers and laity who speak continually to the Holy Spirit all day long.Most think them very Spiritual and in tune with heaven. Katherine Kolmen to mention one.
    We know He directs us to the image of God in Christ Jesus and prays in us..worships within us before the Father but He is none the less God.

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