Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus;
Come in today, come in to stay,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
When we sang this song, long ago and far away, I felt God’s presence with unusual emotion. My eyes would water. I’d get choked up and have to stop singing for a few bars. I still feel it.
In this period of communal discernment of the leading of the Holy Spirit at North Central church, this song’s invitation seems especially meaningful. What I’ve read about the Holy Spirit in the Bible and in other books by ancient and modern writers has done very little to activate the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, but this old song has inspired me to offer this invitation to the Holy Spirit to come into my heart.
All the writers who’ve acknowledged the active and indwelling Spirit encourage me to recognize the guidance and impulse of the Holy Spirit of God. But it is a relatively recent development in my life to ask for this guidance in my prayers. I did not grow up this way, and I was in middle age before I came to acknowledge the reality of an active Holy Spirit apart from the Bible itself. My Christian education was deficient, but I must also admit my own resistance to the activity of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Part of this resistance was fear of losing control. I was under the impression that the direction of my life was primarily my own responsibility. I had a well-developed prejudice against “holy rollers," those who abandoned themselves, as I supposed,
When I began to desire the help of the Holy Spirit my faith was weak. I truly did not trust God to give me the Holy Spirit “right." I was afraid I might become a holy roller myself. That would end my association with the church as I knew it. I may have been deluded, but fear is often irrational, isn’t it?
Thankfully, I had read F. Laubach’s book, Practicing His Presence. Among its many profound benefits was instruction in trusting God. I began to pray for the constant presence of God in my life and for his guidance, but especially for my own ability to yield to the impulse of the Holy Spirit without fear or resistance. It has been a work in progress.
As the church endeavors to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit, I encourage my brothers and sisters to pray regularly that the Holy Spirit will “Come into my heart.”