In the cycles of the church calendar, Pentecost Sunday is the final Sunday of the Easter Season. On Pentecost, we celebrate the reversal of the curse of Babel, the birth of the body of Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the daughters and sons of God. The full work of Jesus, his dying and rising, aimed to see us baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and as a people being refined by the indwelling Spirit, Pentecost Sunday should be a blow out party! God did not leave us alone! The great Helper has come! Hallelujah!
For those of us who design worship, it’s an opportunity to bring in some incredible themes into the gatherings of our church. Specifically, the worship of the church on Pentecost should emphasize the sending of the Spirit to the church, the birth of the church as the body of Christ, and the sending of the church by the Spirit into her mission. We have an incredible heritage of songs that fit into these themes, and as someone who is always collecting songs for the church, I want to offer you ten modern worship songs to add to your list as you plan for Pentecost Sunday:
1) Awakening – written by Reuben Morgan and Chris Tomlin
One of the things I love about this song is its prayer-like structure. Pentecost stirs a hunger in the church, as we wait and welcome the Spirit together like the church in Jerusalem in Acts 2. This song also highlights how the Spirit is being sent not only for our awakening, but for the sake of the world.
2) Breathe on Us – written by Ed Cash and Kari Jobe
Cash and Jobe offer a great corporate song for Pentecost, as the chorus and bridge use collective language to emphasize the collective experience of the Spirit in the church. Pentecost Sunday always emphasizes how we experience the Spirit as an “us”, not just a “me”.
3) Build Your Kingdom Here – written by Rend Collective
This is another fantastic song that emphasizes the role of the Spirit in empowering the church as a body for the mission of God. The writers keep the redemption and renewal of the world through the Spirit and the church front and center throughout the song (and it is a blast to play, especially if you have bluegrass musicians or Mumford fans in your band).
4) Burning in My Soul – written by Brent Younker, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, and Matt Maher
Some of the most powerful songs sung in the church allow us to stand within the stories of Scripture and sing from them. This song does this exceptionally well, as the verses position us the singers with the church in Acts 2, and in doing so awakens us that this story from our history is also our story today.
5) Fall Afresh – written by Jeremy Riddle
I love this song. It is an especially powerful response to the preaching of the word, whether in a time of communion or altar ministry. If your church needs to be more “awake”, this song offers a beautiful prayer for the filling and awakening of the Spirit.
6) Holy Spirit – written by Katie Torwalt and Bryan Torwalt
When I use this song in worship design, it is usually as a gathering song, as the chorus proclaims a huge welcome to the presence of the Spirit in the midst of the people. The presence of God defines the people of God, and to sing a welcome to God, or more correctly a welcoming of an awareness to the already-present God, is a powerful way to begin a time of worship, especially on a day like Pentecost.
7) Spirit of the Living God – written by Audrey Assad
The depth of this song always floors me. Assad captures this wonderful yearning for the Spirit of God in this hymnic song from her Fortunate Fall album. One of the things I love most is how broadly she covers the work of the Spirit from verse to verse, from sanctification and holiness to mission and unity.
8) Spirit of the Living God – written by Jacob Sooter and Mia Fields
This is a worship leader’s song. If your church doesn’t talk about the Spirit much, or doesn’t “get” worship, this song offers them an incredible foundation, as it sings of the role of the Spirit in how God speaks and how we respond.
9) Spirit Fall – written by Daniel Carson, Jason Ingram, Kristian Stanfill, Louie Giglio
Simple songs often get stuck in your congregants’ minds and hearts. This is a simple prayer song, easy to teach and sing, and deeply anchored in the work of the Spirit in magnifying Jesus to the world.
10 Walk in the Promise – written by Jeremy Riddle
Like “Burning in My Soul”, this song situates the singers in that waiting place in the Upper Room, though in a more contemplative light. I also love how Riddle emphasizes the sending of the Spirit as the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.
These are a few of the many, many songs worth singing for Pentecost Sunday, and I know there are many incredible songs from all of history (and all over the world) that are used during the church’s worship on Pentecost Sunday. If you have time, please share what your congregation will be singing on Pentecost in the comments below.