SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT                                                                written in 1962

The Story

An African-American girl growing up in a small town in Missouri, Doris Akers (1923-1995) started playing the piano when she was 5 years old… and wrote her first song when she was 10. She has won many awards for her singing, songwriting and choir directing – especially her work leading the Sky Pilot Choir, but she never had any formal music training. She said she learned her trade the best way – by practical experience.

It was through a personal experience that this song was born. She was leading a pre-service prayer meeting with the Sky Pilot Choir one Sunday morning, but said to her singers, “You are not ready to go in.” She didn’t believe they had prayed enough! They were accustomed to spending time with her in prayer before the service, asking God to bless their songs. So they were praying… when she sensed something special was happening. She described it like this: “The Holy Spirit came down on me and my choir in a sweet gentle sense of powerful presence. I could see Him displayed on the choir members’ warm expressions! I didn’t know how the prayer meeting could conclude and wondered whether I could end word to the waiting pastor and congregation in the church sanctuary.” But, finally she had to tell the choir it was time to go. It was hard to break up the prayer time because there was a sweet, sweet Spirit in that place.

Doris wrote this song from that experience. “Sweet, sweet Spirit” immediately became a favorite hymn of churches; for many congregations, it became a staple during the greeting time in worship. Because it is easily memorized, the song is often played and sung as parishioners shake hands and embrace others gathered for worship.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – ask the Holy Spirit to make the place you’re in right now a sweet place to be.

There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,

and I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;
there are sweet expressions on each face,

and I know they feel the presence of the Lord. (Chorus)

Chorus
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,

stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived, when we shall leave this place.

There are blessings you cannot receive

till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
you’re the one to profit when you say,

“I am going to walk with Jesus all the way.” (Chorus)

 

If you say He saved you from your sin,

now you’re weak, you’re bound and cannot enter in,
you can make it right if you will yield,
you’ll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel. (Chorus)

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