I have heard a number of people speak recently of the importance of “welcoming” or “inviting” the Holy Spirit to meetings. It is a phrase I am reluctant to use as I think it is open to misunderstanding.
It can sound as though it is for the Holy Spirit’s benefit, as though he needed some kind of permission from us to come to church, or that he was reluctant to come and needed a bit of persuasion. However, even though I have occasionally heard people “giving God permission” to do things, I don’t think this is what is generally meant by “welcoming” or “inviting” the Spirit.
The concept rather should be for our benefit. We need to remind ourselves of the reality of the presence of God, and Jesus’ promise to be with us when we meet together. He wants to meet with us, to bless and encourage, to correct and instruct through his word and by his Spirit. If we are to experience all he has to offer us, we need to cultivate an attitude of expectancy and openness. If those who lead meetings can in some way can say something to promote this attitude, then it is a good thing.