Is Being “Slain in the Spirit” of God?

Being “slain in the Spirit.” “Falling under the power of God.” These are terms used to describe the phenomenon seen in some Christian meetings (usually Pentecostal/charismatic meetings) where a person falls to the ground after receiving prayer.

The idea is that the power of God impacts a person to the point where they can no longer stand. Often it is associated with prayer for healing.

Some people report feeling pinned to the floor, and some claim to see visions while on the ground. Others receive physical, emotional, or spiritual healing as they lay there. Some shake–seemingly uncontrollably–while others lay peacefully as if sleeping.

Is this a genuine experience? Is being “slain in the Spirit” of God?

Over the last several years I have been in meetings where this phenomenon was occurring. I have come to the conclusion that it is real, and that it is of God. But I have also come to the conclusion that some who are “slain in the Spirit” are not falling under the power of God at all.

I believe there are four reasons people fall:

1. Falling under the power of God

This can absolutely be a genuine experience. I have seen it happen in my own ministry as I have prayed for people for healing, deliverance, or to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In one instance, my wife and I were praying for a young lady at our place. We were standing, and without touching her I asked the Holy Spirit to come and minister to her. She immediately fell backwards and received a powerful deliverance from evil spirits, as well as miraculous physical healing.

Yes, sometimes God touches a person and they cannot stand under the weight of His power and glory. Sometimes the Holy Spirit’s power knocks people to the ground, and they receive life-changing ministry. If you were struck by lightning, would it be surprising if it knocked you to the ground? Then why would it be surprising for people to fall when they are struck by “power from on high”? (see Luke 24:49)

2. Falling under the power of the devil

Sometimes people fall because there is a demonic manifestation. In other words, as they are receiving prayer, a demon manifests and causes them to fall. Evil spirits can throw people to the ground (see Mark 9:20).

I believe that when people fall to the ground we should not automatically assume God is ministering to them and that we can move on to pray for the next person. We should discern if the person may need deliverance from an evil spirit and proceed accordingly.

3. Falling under the power of the flesh

Have you ever seen ministers pushing people to the floor? This practice is becoming all too common in some circles, and it causes confusion and harm.

It seems that some people measure the success of a church service or conference meeting by how many people end up on the floor. Others gauge how anointed a preacher is by how many people fall when they pray for them. With these factors in place, some insecure ministers apply pressure to people as they pray for them and push them to the ground. This type of hype is unnecessary and damaging; please don’t do it!

4. Falling under the power of suggestion

And then there is the power of suggestion: The service comes to a close. Everyone lines up at the front for prayer with a “catcher” behind them. The minister begins going down the line laying hands on each person, and one by one they all “hit the deck.” Then the minister touches you and nothing happens. What do you do? Do you remain standing, or fall in line with the rest?

Yes, some people fall to the ground simply because it’s the thing to do; everyone else is falling around them. In a given meeting some may be genuinely falling by the power of the Spirit, but others by the power of suggestion. As for me, I would rather stay standing than mimic what others are doing!

In conclusion: I absolutely believe that being “slain in the Spirit” is a genuine experience from God, and that He uses it in powerful ways. But lets not get caught up in making too much of a particular manifestation. Let’s throw away hype and manipulation. And most of all, lets keep our eyes on Jesus!

Questions: What are your thoughts on “falling under the power God?” Have you ever been genuinely “slain in the Spirit?” Have you ever been pushed? 


14 Responses to “Is Being “Slain in the Spirit” of God?”

  1. I’ve not yet been slain in the spirit, nor thankfully pushed! although I know people who’ve experienced both. I recently read the biography of John Rosenberry, a once well-known local evangelist and the grandfather of a close friend. He was slain in the spirit when he was 19, as a rebellious teenager who didn’t care much about the things of God. He was lying on the floor, according to his mother, “white as a sheet.” He describes going up to Heaven during that time, and being shown the portal to hell by Jesus, and commissioned to preach the gospel. From that day forward, he had a mighty ministry, particularly in the Brethren in Christ church (non-Charismatic) across the country.

    I find your cautionary comments about the manifestations of demons good insight. That to assume someone’s having a great time with God because they’re on the floor writhing is not necessarily true.

    Thanks for another illuminating blog.

    • Emily,

      That’s a great testimony about John Rosenberry, thanks for sharing!

      Yes, we need to be discerning about what is going on when a person falls. I remember being at a youth retreat a few years back, and a young lady fell when she was prayed for by the guest speaker. As she lay on the ground I could tell something was not right, and after awhile I realized it was a demonic manifestation. So I moved her away from the crowd and commanded the spirit to leave; sure enough it left and she was relieved.

      • Billie Kay Waldrop Korstad says:

        I think this is the most perfectly balanced teaching I’ve ever heard on this topic.

        I learned a lot and it explained a some
        of my unexpressed feelings & concerns as well. Praying for discernment at all times. I recently watched an online video about the “kundolini spirits” – and began to question a lot of what I’ve seen and heard.

        Thanks Jake!

        • Glad this was a helpful article for you! Yes, we must be aware that the devil has his counterfeits. We need to use discernment, but not “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” God Bless!

  2. Gabrielle says:

    This is really insightful. I’ve definitely witnessed all four of these, and the second is the most alarming to me, when we can potentially move on, thinking this person is being delivered when in reality its the manifestation of an attack. In all things, we can rest on the fact that Christ’s power is at work through us and He is doing the delivering not us, and He can handle it, but I still believe its important to be discerning.

  3. Liz Mills says:

    This is so right on, Jake! Thank you for teaching. You have such a balanced, scriptural, tell-it-like-it-is way about you! I have also heard about people being prompted what to “say” when they are getting a “tongue”. We need to talk about these things in the Body openly, so thank you!! I have experienced the suggestion and the push (I didn’t go down because I want the authentic touch of God, not hype.) I have also experienced what I “count” as being slain in the Spirit as well. Here is what happened: A friend of mine invited a gifted prophetess over to pray for me and my husband. She did not know us and declined hearing any background information about us. She wanted the Lord to speak, not speak her own ideas. So, she got a word from the Father and it directly answered something I had talked to Him about in my private prayer closet! I was sitting in a stuffed back chair and felt God’s Spirit overshadow me. So relaxed that I felt I actually would be more comfortable in the floor and slid there where I melted into the floor even more. My limbs were SO relaxed–my entire body–and the peace of God just ministered to me. I didn’t want to or need to get up–I just stayed in that sweet spot receiving from Him. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comments Liz, and for sharing your experience! You are right…there does need to be more open dialogue about this kind of stuff. People get turned off to the things of the Spirit when there is hype and misuse. And too often, those of us in the charismatic stream sweep stuff like this under the rug and expect people to just swallow whatever is being presented.

  4. Thank you Jake!!! This is on point & much needed.. Too many times have I been the subject of stares for being that one stubborn domino that just doesn’t fall leading me to question my standing w/Christ as to why this manifestation was being withheld from me… So greatful for your insight… I believe that it happens just as you pointed out… In fact, once while on a mission trip to Guatemala, my brother & I were sharing the Gospel when out of the blue my brother extended his arm & prayed over a group of individuals who were running towards us asking for prayer – they all fell at the same time it was incredible – & if I hadn’t seen it w/my own eyes & directly know the person involved I would’ve found it hard to believe. I have also regrettably experienced the minister pushing my head back & as he struggled w/ “putting me down” he attempted to step on my feet & knock me down (my heart still breaks for that minister attempting to showboat)
    Thanks so much for writing this.. Maybe your next article should tackle the practice of throwing Bedsheets over a slain person…

  5. Evans Mwansa says:

    God bless you,Jakes and give you more of these teachings . Iam called as an apostle and what I always read from you are revelations Holy Spirit gives to me. Everything you write are powerful massages to us.

  6. I would like to experience being slain in the spirit.

  7. What is the evidence biblically about being “slain in the spirit”? I heard someone say once that in the Bible whenever people fell on God’s presence they fell forward and falling backwards was usually more linked with the enemy. I don’t know what to make of that. I do recognize that all the times I see people falling in God’s presence in scripture it almost always says “on their face” or prostrate, but I’ve also noticed that everyone I’ve seen “slain in the spirit” falls backward, and I don’t know what to think. Do you have any input?

    • Hey Alyssa, good questions! What we can see in the Bible is that when God’s presence comes in a tangible or powerful way, there is sometimes a clear or tangible human response. There are examples of people shaking/trembling, not being able to minister because of the glory of God, weeping, falling, etc. I have seen people who were “slain in the Spirit” fall forward as well as seen people fall backward. As far as the statement that God’s people always fell forward and his enemies fell backward, I don’t think there is any real evidence for that or even a need to differentiate. The bottom line for me is that when God shows up or His power comes upon someone, there can be a tangible response, including falling to the ground. I hope that helps!

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