A pattern I've noticed after watching many Christian conversion testimonies is that plenty of them report feeling the presence of God in a life-changing manner at the moment of conversion or maybe not long after. For illustrative purposes, I will list below some of the testimonies that in my opinion are the most reliable (i.e. they are very likely being honest and not making up stories) and impressive, along with a short summary/paraphrase of what each testimony says. In case you may want to watch the testimonies yourself, I'm including the links with timestamps so that you can jump directly to the parts where the relevant experiences are narrated.

  1. From model/to New Age witchcraft/To saved by Jesus Christ: after water baptism, she was lying in bed at night and suddenly was overwhelmed by a feeling of holiness, love, joy. She also had tears of joy and had a vision of the air as gold. For more details, please watch the video.

  2. New Age to Christianity // My Supernatural Experience with God: she prayed to Jesus in the bathroom, and suddenly an "atmospheric peace" engulfed her. She describes it as the most supernatural experience she ever had in her life. Afterwards, she reports having both an "inner knowing" and the feeling that the Holy Spirit entered her, and then reports her life completely changing.

  3. From New Age to Jesus - My Unexpected Encounter with God: she prayed the sinner's prayer, asking God to become the ruler of her life. A minute after the prayer, she says: "I felt this incredible feeling, coming from the top of my head [...] it was like someone pouring oil or warm honey from the top of my head, and just sort of slowly moved down my body, and as it was going down I felt the warmth, just pure love, pure joy, pure peace [...]". She also claims that the feeling was "a whole nother level" above anything she had experienced before in the New Age.

  4. Testimony of Andres Bisonni. Daystar Television Network: he visited Argentina during a revival and was hungry for having an encounter with the Holy Spirit after hearing encouraging testimonies from fellow Christians in a youth conference. While in a bus, someone prayed for him and suddenly he experienced the following: "[...] it's almost impossible to describe with words, but I felt this love being poured into my heart, and this like heat that came and surrounded me, this supernatural presence embraced me [...]".

  5. Paul Washer- The Presence of God: simply put, after months of seeking an encounter in a prayer closet, one night he was suddenly visited by the presence of God, which he perceived as glorious and making him vividly aware of his sin initially but then turning into an overwhelming joy that led to spontaneous praises.

Some common themes I observe in these and other testimonies:

  • The experience of peace, joy and love.
  • Describing the experience as something that surpasses anything experienced before (including people who were previously involved in meditation and other spiritual practices).
  • Describing the experience as something "atmospheric" or that "surrounds" or "embraces" the individual, as if submerged into something.
  • Sometimes the feeling of heat or warmth is reported.
  • Sometimes the feeling of a holy presence (a sense of holiness) is reported.
  • Most individuals describe the experience as life-changing.

Is there any biblical support for this experience? Are there records in the Bible of individuals having encounters with the presence of God who reported feelings or symptoms that resemble the ones reported by these and other testimonies?

  • I suggest you start by reading the book of Jonah, then the variety of experience in the Psalms. Then the book of Job. Also, the experience of the Philippian jailer, of Cornelius, of Lydia etc, etc etc. Scripture is a vast treasure trove of personal spiritual experiences.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 13, 2020 at 8:13
  • But do they match the sensations and symptoms reported by contemporary testimonies? The point of my question is to rule out pure "emotionalism".
    – user50422
    Nov 13, 2020 at 12:35
  • Emotionalism is not expressed in scripture nor can it be 'ruled out' contemporaneously by statistical analysis and researched documentation. That would be a matter of spiritual discernment within an experienced individual, who had, themselves, experienced genuine spiritualities and who had the maturity and ability to make competent judgments of other persons' testimonies. In short, a called Minister of Jesus Christ such as, say, Timothy or Titus.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 14, 2020 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


The late itinerant preacher, evangelist, and author, Paul E. Little, who traveled nationally as a representative of Inter/Varsity Christian Fellowship, said in a sermon I listened to at spiritual emphasis week at Emmaus Bible College, that Christians should not necessarily experience a "liver quiver" when attempting to discern God's will. Good advice.

Feelings come and go. Jesus's disciples likely experienced many liver quivers as they observed their Lord and Savior in action, particularly during his more spectacular signs and wonders (e.g., calming the stormy Sea of Galilee with a simple command, being with him at the Transfiguration where Moses and Elijah joined them, and the raising of Lazarus from the dead).

Both then and today, however, believers are to walk by faith and not by sight--or by feelings, for that matter (see 2 Corinthians 5:7)!

I have a friend, a believer in Jesus, who heard the voice of God at his conversion. Talk about "liver quivers"! The feelings that that voice elicited from my friend were unforgettable for him, but they added not a whit to the reality of his conversion.

Imagine the apostle Paul at his conversion (when he was still Saul). Imagine the feelings that Jesus's voice elicited from him, not to mention his reaction to the holy light which left him blind, temporarily. As spectacular as his conversion was, I imagine the newness, novelty, and emotionality of what occurred to Saul on the road to Damascus eventually wore off. As Paul grew into his faith, the conviction that his calling by God was real, deepened. What became increasingly important to him was being obedient to his calling by God to be an evangelist to the Gentiles.

In short, feelings are great. They are, after all, God-given. They are part of God's design of us as creatures made in his image. Feelings of ecstasy, like a drug-induced high (I imagine!), are bound to fade in time. If they are not superseded by belief, faith, and trust, however, they are of little value in the long run. If God graciously gives us that warmth of healing so many Christians describe, then great. If he graciously withholds such feelings from us, sometimes that can ultimately be even better for our walk of faith.

  • Good answer. I'm currently inclined to believe that extraordinary experiences are granted on a case-by-case basis. For example, the apostle Paul needed that shocking encounter, otherwise most probably he would've never converted. Similarly, after sharing thoughts with many atheists and agnostics, I see no way they can convert unless something spectacular happens to them, whereas other people don't impose such high requirements. I guess you could say each person has their own conversion "threshold".
    – user50422
    Nov 16, 2020 at 1:54

When you’re born again and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. There’s a tangible presence you can feel.

In 1 Co. 3:16 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Not all the time, or continually - but it’s there intermittently.

Some call it the Holy Spirit chill, but whatever you call it, this occurs (Rom 8:16)

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God