What’s an Orphan Spirit?

The phrase “orphan spirit” is a common phrase. What is it? Some use the term as if referring to a demonic spirit. I suppose this is somewhat accurate. Any demonic spirit is, in a sense, an orphan spirit. It would be hard to find a demonic spirit that isn’t working to convince us that we’re fatherless.

But I don’t think the demonic is what we should primarily think of when we use the term “orphan spirit.”

Our human spirit was designed for connection. We were made to be fathered and mothered. From the very moment of conception we were supposed to know touch, intimacy, acceptance, belonging, delight, value, security and so much more. After nine months within the cozy and protective bubble of nurture that is our mother’s womb, we are to immediately experience skin to skin connection through which our needs our met. This is more than a mere pragmatic supply of nutrition. It communicates something very deep, though completely non-verbal, to the core of our being about who we are. Throughout our development process we need to continually receive, in ways appropriate to that stage of development from both father and mother, an impartation of identity and being, of value. We were made to receive love and from this discover that we matter, that we belong.

When parenting occurs with a reasonable amount of health, it actually sets us up to know God as our ultimate source. Deep and healthy connection with mom and dad builds in us the necessary set of assumptions about life and love and self that make it easy to surrender to and receive from a good, faithful, and loving Heavenly Father.

But in a broken world this doesn’t always occur the way it needs to and we can grow up with a very wrong set of assumptions about life and love and self that make it quite difficult to connect deeply with God. Or anyone else. It’s possible to grow up into a very crowded world with this very wrong set of assumptions and find ourselves alone with no idea how to fix it.

This is an orphan spirit.

The Holy Spirit is called, in the Bible (Rom 8:15) a Spirit of Adoption. Only his presence, his voice, his love, his touch can heal and orphan spirit. Only the Spirit’s revelation to us of the Father’s heart can make us whole once again.


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