A Brief History Of The Prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit”

For thousands of years, Christians have been inviting the Holy Spirit – to come to us, to move in us, to manifest God’s presence among us, and to minister through us with power in the world.


Dan Wilt

Director of Communications & Resources, Vineyard USA



A Brief History Of The Prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit”


[SHORT VERSION]

In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

  • In Acts 2 the early disciples welcomed and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit filling the upper room.
  • In the 200s, Hippolytus is attributed with writing a prayer for the early believers that had them welcoming the Holy Spirit to move with the words, “…And we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit.”
  • In the 800s, a Benedictine monk wrote a song equipping the Church to sing the prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit, Creator, come….”
  • In the 1200s, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” written as a Latin worship poem called Veni Sancte Spiritus, took on a central place in the worship of the Western Church.
  • And on Mother’s Day in 1980, in a congregation in California where John Wimber pastored, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit” took it’s place in the life of a Movement that has impacted the world with its radical, risk-taking commitment to Spirit ministry in the local church.

Since the earliest days of the Church until today, in all the different ways we can say it, sing it, or pray it, the Church has been saying “Come, Holy Spirit – fill Your Church with power!”


[LONG VERSION]

For thousands of years, Christians have been inviting the Holy Spirit – to come to us, to move in us, to manifest God’s presence among us, and to minister through us with power in the world.

“Come, Holy Spirit,” is a prayer that has been prayed since ancient times, in many variations and ways, as a welcoming prayer that sits at the beating heart of the empowered Church of Jesus Christ.

When we come to the world as Gospel people, like Paul, we want to come with a Gospel of power rather than one of words (1 Cor. 4:20). Every generation has found ways to pray this prayer.

Here are just a few examples:

  • In the early 200s, early theologian Hippolytus wrote an Invocation of the Holy Spirit, that says “…And we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit….”
  • In the 800s, a Frankish Monk, Rabanus Maurus, wrote a song called, Veni Creator Spiritus, or “Come, Creator Spirit.” The prayer begins, “Come, Holy Spirit, Creator, come….”
  • In the 1200s, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” or Veni Sancte Spiritus took on fresh life and became a common prayer in the Western church. This historic prayer begins with the powerful words, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.”
  • And on Mother’s Day in 1980, in a congregation in California where John Wimber pastored, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit” took it’s place in the life of a Movement that has impacted the world with its radical, risk-taking commitment to Spirit ministry in the local church.

From ancient times to today, Protestant churches all over the world, as well as the Church of England, the Orthodox Church, and the Catholic Church all regularly pray this prayer in some way, shape, or form.

In the Vineyard, when we pray “Come, Holy Spirit,” we are inviting God with open hearts to manifest His Presence, to do what He wants to do in our gatherings and in our communities, and to raise our hearts in Kingdom expectation.

“Come, Holy Spirit” has been called the most essential prayer of the Church. So, together with all God’s Church, we pray “Come, Holy Spirit!” for the sake of the Gospel, for our lives and the lives of those we touch, and for the life of the world.