Who is the Holy Spirit?

Dove

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

GENESIS 1:1-2

Imagine God’s Spirit hovering over the face of the earth. Everything is dark and without form until God breathes out the words, “Let there be light.” In an instant, everything changes. The light pierces the darkness, and what was once invisible is now seen clearly. This is what God’s Spirit does. He is always close, always near, always bringing to light what was once covered in darkness.

He was there with Moses, leading the Israelites through the wilderness. He was there with David, empowering him to defeat Goliath. He was there with the prophet Isaiah, giving him the words to say about the coming of Jesus. He was there with Jesus, setting Him apart as God’s Son. And God’s Holy Spirit is still here. Now, anyone who believes in Jesus can experience the Holy Spirit’s profound presence.

But what does that actually mean? What does experiencing the Holy Spirit look like?

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

ACTS 2:38

There’s evidence throughout Scripture that the Holy Spirit empowered particular people to take part in His plans and to remind others of His purpose. But Jesus’ sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection changed everything. For the first time in history, anyone who chose to believe in Jesus could receive His Holy Spirit.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

JOHN 14:16-17

The gift of the Holy Spirit is still available to anyone who believes in Jesus. And by receiving that gift, God empowers us to live in a way that honors Him and reflects His character. Essentially, when we ask God to draw near to us, we become more aware of God’s presence and power in our lives. This means that even in our darkest moments, we are never actually alone. The Holy Spirit is closer to you than your own breath.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

ROMANS 8:26

No matter your situation or background, when you belong to Christ, His Holy Spirit is with you at all times, empowering and strengthening you, and praying on your behalf. He understands your needs because He understands you.

And because God understands you, He is always working on your behalf for your good and His glory. This doesn’t mean you won’t endure suffering or encounter hardships. But even in the midst of those trials, God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, will continue to draw you closer to Himself.

Even when you’re at your weakest, there is nothing that God cannot do through you when His Holy Spirit lives within you.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. …And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

You are never far from God’s presence. When you make the decision to accept Jesus as the risen Son of God, you get all the benefits that come with that— including the Holy Spirit being with you at all times.

So take a moment and ask yourself these reflection questions:

  • Do I believe that Jesus is God?

  • Have I asked Jesus to change my life?

If you can answer “yes” to both of those questions, then you have access to God’s Holy Spirit. But having access to God and going through life with God are completely different things.

When we obey God out of love for Him and acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our lives, we allow the Holy Spirit to thrive in our lives. For this reason, living a Spirit-filled life requires intentionally seeking God every day.

It’s through intentional time with God that you discover how to love Him, love others, and make disciples. It’s through getting to know God’s character that you become familiar with His Spirit’s power, presence, and authority. And it’s through the power of the Holy Spirit that you become aware of how your actions and choices affect your relationship with God and other people.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17-18

Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is available to everyone who becomes a follower of Christ, and He wants to empower you to live in a manner worthy of the calling God has placed on you.

If you want to discover how to live a Spirit-filled life—a life that honors God and inspires others—spend some time reading Galatians 5:22-23. Then, when you’re ready, pray through the fruit of the Spirit in this blog post.

Pray Through the Fruit of the Spirit

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9 Prayers to Help You Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit

Orange

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

GALATIANS 5:25

If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit is always with you, equipping you to live a life that honors God and encourages others. But although we have access to the Spirit at all times, living a Spirit-filled life involves intentionally seeking God every day.

When we allow God’s Spirit to convict, challenge, and change us, He transforms the ways we think and act.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

GALATIANS 5:22-23

The “fruits” of the Spirit are distinct yet interconnected—together, they prove that we are allowing God to shape every part of our lives.

The choices you make will always mirror what you are allowing to direct and guide your heart. So right now, take a moment to re-read Galatians 5:22-23, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what areas of your life you need Him to transform. Then, when you’re ready, pray the following prayers with us.

A Prayer for Love

Father God, thank You for showing me what true love looks like. Please perfect me in Your love by showing me the parts of my life that are not in line with Your Holy Spirit. Show me where I am selfish, self-serving, and easily angered, so that I can surrender those things to You and allow You to replace those traits with Your selfless love. Transform me into someone who loves others just like You love me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Joy

God, thank You for giving me constant access to Your presence. Because You are always with me, I can experience true joy at all times. Although the joy You give isn’t based on my circumstances, I don’t always live a life marked by joy. Too often, instead of trusting You, I let my problems dictate my reactions. Please forgive me! Fill me with Your joy and peace, so that by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I may abound in hope at all times. Help me to live a life marked by undefeatable joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Peace

Father God, I often find myself overwhelmed by circumstances that are beyond my control, and I am easily distracted by things that don’t matter. Please forgive me for not consistently placing my trust in You. Even when I am faced with intense situations, You are still with me. You are the Creator of peace, and I can have access to Your peace-filled presence whenever I draw near to You. So instead of silencing Your Holy Spirit when I start to feel anxious or discouraged, help me to make room in my heart and mind to experience the peace You freely give. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Patience

Holy Spirit, create in me a clean heart that seeks the best in others. Help me to show empathy and compassion to everyone, and to do so with gentleness and respect. When people or circumstances don’t meet my expectations, empower me to show grace and understanding. Help me to see my situations from Your perspective so that I can rejoice at all times and show patience when needed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Kindness

God, thank You for continually showing me Your steadfast love and mercy. You are so good! Lord, I frequently find myself easily angered, hurt, or offended. Please change the way I think and behave. It is through Your Spirit that I am forgiven and empowered. So today, I invite You to guide me, direct me, and show me how to display kindness to others as You have displayed kindness toward me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Goodness

Holy Spirit, there is nowhere I can run to escape Your presence! You won’t give up on me because You are too kind to leave me the way You found me. You guide me, counsel me, and show me the paths that lead to life. Today, make me more aware of Your goodness so that I can share Your goodness with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Self-Control

Holy Spirit, let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You! I don’t want to grieve You by living in a manner unworthy of the calling You’ve placed on my life. Instead, I want to live a disciplined, thoughtful life because I know this honors You. So when I am tempted to give in to anger, selfishness, or pride, help me to consider others as better than myself, and allow me to do this with humility and grace. I surrender control of my life to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Faithfulness

God, You make all things beautiful in their proper timing. Nothing is too hard for You to accomplish! You are faithful to keep Your promises. But so often, I forget this and grow discouraged when my situations don’t seem to change. In those moments, it’s easy to forget that You are not done working. Through Your Holy Spirit, please change the way I think and behave. When I start to grow weary, help me to remember that You are with me, You are faithful, and You have given me everything I need to live a faith-filled life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Prayer for Gentleness

Holy Spirit, help me pay close attention to the ways that You call me by name and draw me closer to You. And as You do that, show me how to live in a manner worthy of the calling You’ve given me. Help me to not do anything with selfish ambition, but instead, show me how to consider others as better than myself. Rather than seeking to immediately correct the wrongs I see in other people, let me first bring my concerns to You and allow You to direct my response. Let the conversations I have with others be filled with gentleness and respect so that nothing in my life detracts people from seeing You through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Did these prayers encourage or inspire you? Save a couple to your YouVersion Prayer List. Throughout your week, continue to intentionally draw near to God through prayer, and allow His Holy Spirit to shape the way you live.

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Live empowered.

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

ROMANS 8:26

What is God doing in you?

Take a moment and think about what God has done in your life recently. Think of the situations He’s helped you endure, the challenges you’ve overcome together, and the victories you’ve experienced because of Him.

No matter your situation or background, when you belong to Christ, His Holy Spirit is with you at all times, empowering and strengthening you. There is nothing that God cannot do through you when His Holy Spirit lives within you.

Right now, ask God to show you how His Holy Spirit is at work in your life. Here are some Plans that can help you get started:

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How do you share your faith?

Friends on a building

Think of a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or a coworker who doesn’t have a strong relationship with Jesus. How would you share your faith with them?

Matthew 28:18-20, also known as “The Great Commission,” is a great place to start:

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of every nation. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to affirm all I’ve commanded you —and I’ll be with you till the end of the age.”

MATTHEW 28:18-20

In the original Greek, the phrase “make disciples” is actually an order to “disciple.” This isn’t a suggestion Jesus is making—it’s an urgent, ongoing command, and it’s the focal point of the Great Commission.

Here are 3 ways we can disciple others by applying the Great Commission to our lives:

  1. Go

  2. The original Greek word used for “go” conveys a continual action. It isn’t necessarily a command to leave your job or your home and strike up debates with strangers.

    Instead, this verb is showing that we disciple others by developing relationships with the people we interact with every day—the people at our jobs, in our schools, and even at the grocery store. Basically, Jesus is saying, “as you are going about your lives, train and teach people to follow me.”

    Before continuing, it’s important to point out that “going” doesn’t always mean leaving our country. While Jesus does call His followers to make disciples “of all nations” — Jesus was also talking to Jewish disciples who avoided interacting with other ethnicities. His command would have challenged them to reach out to Roman conquerors, Ethiopan travelers, and Samaritan neighbors in their own city, as well as abroad.

    In other words, Jesus was showing them that Christianity isn’t exclusive to one race, ethnicity, or country—it’s for all people. Always. And the people we interact with every day are usually the people God is urgently asking us to reach.

    So who has God placed around you, and how can you reach out to them today?

    Tip: To help you get started, share an encouraging Verse Image with someone, or ask someone how you can pray for them, and then add their requests to your YouVersion Prayer List.

  3. Baptize

  4. When you think of “baptism,” what comes to mind? If you said “dunking someone in water” —you’re not wrong! But the purpose of baptism is to outwardly express an inward change of heart. It is both a symbolic expression of faith and an act of obedient surrender and repentance, which is why it’s the natural next step someone takes after they make a decision to believe in and follow Christ.

    We can help people decide to take that step by having honest conversations with them about what it means to follow Jesus, responding to their questions about God, and then inviting them to take part in the physical act of baptism.

    Baptism matters because it’s something that Jesus did, and He also commanded His disciples to baptize others. So when we take part in baptism, we are living like Jesus and obeying Him. This public act allows us to identify with Christ’s death and resurrection, repent from the way we used to live, and celebrate the new, eternal life we have because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

    Tip: As you develop relationships with people who might be thinking about getting baptized, here are some questions you can ask them…

    • Do you believe you need Jesus?
    • What does believing in Jesus mean to you?
    • Do you believe that Jesus died for you and rose again?
    • What does following Jesus look like?
    • How have you asked God to forgive you for your past mistakes?
    • Have you invited Jesus into your life?
  5. Teach

  6. Teaching someone is a two-step process: it involves imparting ideas to someone and consistently modeling the things we’re teaching. It doesn’t have to be formal, and according to the Great Commission, it’s often done as we go and baptize.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that we can’t expect people to observe what Jesus has commanded us unless we are also observing His commands ourselves.

    Do we want people to learn about God’s love? Then we need to show God’s love to people. Do we want people to learn about Jesus’ compassion? Then we need to be compassionate. Do we want people to give generously? Then we need to be good stewards of our money. Do we want people to study God’s Word? Then we need to study it for ourselves.

    Model what it means to be a disciple by letting someone come alongside you as you pray, study God’s Word, budget your finances, and live your everyday life.

    Tip: Try inviting someone to complete a Bible Plan with you. Tap the link below to browse Plans.

View Plans

Ultimately, our goal isn’t to make people follow Jesus—only God can change someone’s life. But we can live every day with intentionality, look for opportunities to develop relationships with the people around us, and show others what it means to know God and make Him known. Sharing our faith is about sharing our lives, and so as we do that, we will be presented with opportunities to make disciples.

Want to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus?

Here are three Bible passages that can
help you find out.

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