Advice to Those Hesitant to Pray for the Holy Spirit’s Presence

In Ephesians 5:18–21, Paul encouraged the church to avoid being drunk with wine and instead seek the filling of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit fell upon the Christians at Pentecost, they began to speak in tongues, and the people around them thought that these Christians were drunk. They did not realize that the foreign languages they were hearing were gifts of the Holy Spirit.

To a person unfamiliar with the work of the Holy Spirt, it could look like drunkenness. The joy of God’s presence, the happy singing that accompanies the saints as they express their thankfulness to God, the reckless generosity with which Christians may share the little they have with others in need, the willingness to break cultural expectations as they submit to one another in love— God’s grace working within the lives of his people produces people who can appear as happy drunks intoxicated with the gospel of Jesus Christ that expresses itself in love that embraces strangers, aliens, outsiders, and notorious sinners.

In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life, Dr. Michael Horton says Christians “are called to be filled more and more with the Spirit—that is, ‘under the influence’ of his intoxicating grace (Ephesians 5:8, 18–21)…We long for the Spirit’s indwelling presence to fill every nook and cranny of our thoughts, hopes, dreams, loves, and actions—to be led by him rather than by our sinful passions” (196).

For God’s children, the longing for the Spirit is natural. We should want God the Holy Spirit to so work in our lives that we can both experience and share God’s love for the world. We should want to experience greater freedom from sin’s power and the “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” that the Holy Spirit produces (Galatians 5:22–23). But should we pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence? What should we expect?

In response to that question, Michael Horton explains that not only should we pray for the Spirit’s presence, but that God is happy to give us more of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence that every Christian has received as a down payment guaranteeing our final redemption. Enjoy this clip, and if you want to know more about how the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is a gift and what that means for your life, check out Michael Horton’s book Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life.


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Silverio Gonzalez

Silverio Gonzalez is a husband, father, and staff writer at Core Christianity. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Master of Divinity from Westminster Seminary California. 

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