Holy Spirit, Keep the Fire Burning in Us!

Congregational Songs for Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus’ disciples in the witness of a large community of Christ-followers (Acts 2:1–13). Before his suffering and resurrection, Jesus promised his disciples that “another advocate,” the Spirit of truth, would live with them forever (John 14:16–17). This promise was fulfilled on Pentecost, a day when a small band of Christ-followers was renewed and revitalized by the Holy Spirit and transformed into the church.

Pentecost is a time when the body of Christ celebrates renewal in us individually and in all of creation. As we “profess [our] confidence and security in knowing the Spirit’s power is available for [our] mission,” we also “grow in awareness of the immensity of its calling to reach the world with the gospel” (The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, 2013, p. 693)

In the following selections of congregational songs, some are prayers that the Holy Spirit revives us; others are nineteenth-century hymns that have become less known in the contemporary church. Suggestions are provided to pair them with worship liturgies.


“’Tis Burning in My Soul” with a Call to Worship

Call to Worship
The love of God has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us;
we dwell in him and he in us.
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him,
and speak of all his marvelous works.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!
—From The Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Book Centre, 1985. © 1985, General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. Used with permission.

Song: “’Tis Burning in My Soul” White
Little is known about Delia T. White, the author of this hymn. Her texts appear in several late nineteenth-century hymnals published in Philadelphia (edited by William J. Kirkpatrick) and New York (edited by Robert Lowry and Ira Sankey). Her hymns reflect the gospel style of her time, with themes about being close to God and obedient to the Master, and about the renewal of our spirits. This hymn, with a tune written by Kirkpatrick, was first published in Songs of Love and Praise, No. 3, in 1896. Kirkpatrick (1838–1921) was a prolific Methodist composer and hymnal editor. One of his most well-loved tunes is CRADLE SONG (“Away in a Manger” LUYH 86).

“’Tis Burning in My Soul” is a hymn with a personal perspective. Its enthusiastic text describes the experience of how the Holy Spirit changes and energizes one’s life. The hymn can be sung effectively with organ and piano or in the gospel style with a band. (Music Score)


“Holy Spirit, Revive Me” with Confession

Prayer of Confession
Come, Holy Spirit!
Rain upon our dry and dusty lives.
Wash away our sin
and heal our wounded spirits.
Kindle within us the fire of your love
to burn away our apathy.
With your warmth bend our rigidity,
and guide our wandering feet;
through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.
—Reprinted by permission from Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.

Song: “Holy Spirit, Revive Me” Yeung
Yeung Pak-lun David (1931–2023) was a prolific composer of sacred music. Born in Mainland China, he learned the violin, conducting, and composition with prominent musicians and educators. He served a number of churches and community groups in Hong Kong. In 2014, the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union awarded Yeung a Ten Outstanding Christian Seniors Award—Lifetime Achievement for his lifelong persistence in composing hymns and his great impact on the spiritual growth of many Christians.

“Holy Spirit, Revive Me” is a hymn written in 1956 still popular in Asia and other parts of the world. The lyrics are a confession and an earnest prayer that the Holy Spirit would revive us when we lose our faith, love, and hope amid the blissful sweetness or the burdens of life. The hymn has multiple versions that are suitable for the congregation as well as the choir. 
(Music Score)

Assurance of Pardon
In Christ you were marked with the Holy Spirit,
a seal of our redemption in Christ.
By the power of the Holy Spirit
we become dead in sin and alive anew in Christ.
May you be filled with the Holy Spirit
so that you may have hope of new life,
may grow in your knowledge of the God 
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and may experience the incomparable power of God
that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
—Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources, Q.2.4.5.


“Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise you” with Offering

Offertory: “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise You” Key, TH 80
The hymnwriter, Francis Scott Key, is most well known for the lyrics he penned that later became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key (1779–1843), educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, was a lawyer by profession but also wrote a number of hymns, with “Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee” being one of the texts more recognized in the contemporary church. The poem, written in 1813, first appeared in Church Poetry, published in 1823: and has been updated for use with this article (see below).

In the very common metric of D, this hymn has historically been associated with several tunes, including FABEN (by John H. Willcox), AUTUMN (by François-Hippolyte Barthélémon), and VESPER HYMN (by Dimitri S. Bortnianski). I suggest using the tune RIPLEY by Lowell Mason, which you may know as “Praise the Lord! Sing Hallelujah.” LUYH 518

This hymn is fitting as an offertory. The last verse may also be used in the sending liturgy (see text on this page). A choral version is available at tinyurl.com/RW151LordWithGlowingHeart. For a contemporary rendition of this hymn by Barrett Black, see barrettblack.bandcamp.com/track/lord-with-glowing-heart-id-praise-thee.

Lord, With Glowing Heart I’d Praise You
1. Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise you
for the joy your love bestows. 
For your pardoning grace, I’d thank you
and the peace that from it flows.
But help, O God, my weak endeavor;
this dull soul no joy can raise;
you must light the flame, or never
can my love be warmed to praise.

2. Praise, my soul, the God that sought me,
wretched wanderer far astray;
found me lost, and kindly brought me 
from the paths of death away.
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
God who saw my guilt-born fear,
and, the light of hope revealing,
pierced my soul when Christ appeared. 

3. Praise the Savior God that drew me
to that cross, new life to give,
offered grace and pardon to me,
bade me look to Christ and live.
Praise the grace who did pursue me,
roused me from my fatal ease;
praise the grace whose promise warmed me,
praise the grace that whispered peace.

4. Lord, my heart and soul’s deep feelings
vainly would my lips express:
low before your footstool kneeling,
deign this suppliant’s prayer to bless.
Let your grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
love’s pure flame within me raise;
and, since words can never measure,
let my life show forth your praise.
—Francis Scott Key, 1819, P.D., adapted

Prayer for the Offering
God of abundant love, 
we thank you for the gift of your Spirit, 
poured out on all who live in Christ. 
May these gifts be our response of abundant love; 
use them to bless [name the specific cause], 
through Christ, our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
—Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources, Q.5.2.1.

Additional Pentecost Song Suggestions
The following songs would also pair well with the liturgical elements included in this article. 

Following the Call to Worship
“Revive Thy Work, O Lord” Midlane, TH 370 (pair with the tune REVIVE by W. Howard Doane)
“O Lord, You’re Beautiful” Green, Tomlin

Following the Assurance of Pardon
“Search Me, O God” Orr, SSS 506

Dr. Kai Ton Chau is associate editor of Reformed Worship and resource development specialist at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He is a member and choir director at Blythefield Christian Reformed Church in Rockford, Michigan.

Reformed Worship 151 © March 2024, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.