HOLY SPIRIT, BREATHE ON ME                                                 written in 1937

The Story

In John 20:22, in anticipation of Pentecost, Jesus “breathed” on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit“. Based on this, in 1878, Edwin Hatch penned the words to the hymn, “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” Then, in 1937, Baylus Benjamin (BB) McKinney (1886-1952) used the thoughts and words of Hatch’s hymn to pen the words of this hymn, “Holy Spirit, Breathe on Me.”

McKinney’s work with Southern Baptists gave him the title “the father of church music among Southern Baptists.” After serving as a professor, then as an assistant pastor, he became secretary of the Church Music Department at Baptist headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. There, he edited the first hymnals used by Southern Baptists. He also wrote the words and music for about 150 songs.

In this hymn, McKinney shares what the Holy Spirit does for the Christian because He dwells in the heart of the believer. In v.1, the words “Breathe on me, until my heart is clean” remind us that it is God’s Holy Spirit who daily cleanses or sanctifies us. In v.2, we are reminded the Holy Spirit also leads us to consecrate ourselves to Christ. In v.3, we sing “Holy Spirit, breathe on me, fill me with power divine.” V.4 is another prayer of consecration, “Holy Spirit, breathe on me, till I am all Your own.”

What a powerful daily reminder of what the Holy Spirit wants to do for us.

First, He wants to cleanse us from sin.

Second, He wants to help us dedicate ourselves completely to God.

Third, He desires to give us the power and resources to serve Him and live victorious lives.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – pray it as your own personal prayer.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me, until my heart is clean.

Let sunshine fill its inmost part, without a cloud between.


Breathe on me, breathe on me, Holy Spirit breathe on me;

Take, now, my heart and cleanse every part, Holy Spirit, breathe on me.


Holy Spirit, breathe on me, my stubborn will subdue;

teach me in ways, of living flame, what Christ would have me do. (Chorus)


Holy Spirit, breathe on me, fill me with power divine;

kindle a flame of love and zeal within this heart of mine. (Chorus)


Holy Spirit breathe on me, till I am all Your own,

until my will is lost in Yours, to live for You alone. (Chorus)


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