Speaking in tongues has been on the front burner for the Pearls of the Ocean for a while. In our last 2 meetings it came up like a flash in the pan from nowhere. One minute we were talking about something totally different and the next it was speaking in tongues. We prayed at each of the meetings and since then we have had great testimonies from Pearls that have begun to speak in tongues.
I believe that God really wants us all to begin to speak in tongues. So figured I should do this write-up to give us all enough information to approach the matter.
I remember the first time I answered an altar call. After the altar call, we were taken to a room called the Holy Ghost Room and someone was there to talk to us about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. After the talk she asked us all to open our mouths and begin to pray in tongues. People actually began to speak in tongues, almost the entire room, apart from me. I just could not understand how someone would be talking without understanding what they were saying and call that praying. It was too much for me.
That altar call did not get me very far. There were other things distracting me from making full commitment to my decision. After a few weeks I was back where I started. But soon after that, the events of my life got me back to the place where I understood clearly that I needed to get born again. While I was still trying to make up my mind, we had visitors at my house. They came to see my father, to preach to him. At this time he was dealing with alcoholism, depression, disappointment and they felt the need to bring him to the Lord. They came to preach to him but I was the one who finally got saved. This time for good.
I went back to the same church and every week people went into the Holy Ghost Room and came out speaking in tongues. During the praise sessions, people would be speaking in tongues all around me. At this time I was wise enough to know there was something about it but did not know how to go about it. One Wednesday evening service, I looked around me. I said to myself, ‘All these people cannot be foolish’. I opened my mouth and began to pray in tongues. I was not under any unction. Nothing hit me. I did not feel anything, I simply opened my mouth and began to say whatever came to me.
After that day, I prayed in the spirit but never really understood the power in my prayer language. Then I attended a deliverance session and noticed what happened as soon as the ministers began to pray in tongues. You could see manifestations from people being prayed for whenever the prayers were in tongues. The demons that were being cast out were very uncomfortable. I realized that speaking in tongues was a weapon for us as believers that the enemy feared. And I rested my case on the issue for ever. I have had great experiences praying in tongues over many years with several testimonies to share for it.
Having told my story, let me go back to the beginning. The promise of believers speaking in tongues started with the prophets but we will start in the gospels. When Jesus was here on earth, towards the end of the ministry, He promised His disciples
John 14:115-18 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus had been telling His disciples about His departure. They were sad and in trying to encourage them He promised the Holy Spirit who would be a perfect replacement. This coming person would be for those who know Him and He would dwell in them. Then He went ahead to tell them what the He would do for them, how he would be relevant in the next dispensation when He would not be physically present.
John 16:7-14, 26 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you………However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. …….But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is to help him, to empower him, to enable him, to make it possible to live the life of God. It would be impossible to live this new life without Him.
After His resurrection, Jesus described the signs that would follow the believer, Mark 16:17And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Speaking with new tongues is supposed to be the manifestation of EVERY believer. The Holy Spirit takes abode with us as soon as we get saved. But we have the responsibility of responding to Him by allowing Him fully manifest Himself in our lives. Speaking in tongues is an attestation to the fact that we are allowing Him free flow in our lives.
Jesus put it like this John 7:38-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Jesus in trying to describe the experience calls it ‘rivers of living waters’. That is what praying in tongues is really all about- prayers flowing from the very depths of your heart through the Holy Spirit to the Father in the name of Jesus.
The reason people find it difficult to accept the gift of speaking in tongues is that there is a general impression that it is for specially gifted people. Wrong. It is for ALL believers. You can start to speak in tongues the minute you get born again. The only required criterion is to get born again. In Acts 10, as soon as Cornelius’ household heard the Word, it happened. 44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Another thing is that people refer to 1 Corinthians 14 where Paul throws light on this matter. This chapter is grossly misunderstood. Paul encourages people to prophesy rather than just pray in tongues. Prophesy enables one to interpret the tongues which he has spoken. People now run off with the notion that simply speaking in tongues without interpretation is not correct. That is so untrue.
Paul was speaking in the context of people speaking to congregations in tongues without interpreting. Apparently, in the Corinthian church, someone would get up during the service and begin to speak in tongues to the congregation without interpreting. Paul was saying that it was better to speak to congregations with interpretation. If not, nobody would be able to do anything with what they heard because he was not understood.
So Paul ends his encouragement by saying 1 Corinthians 14: 12, 15,16, 22-25 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 15What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. …..I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?. 22Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
So the issue Paul was addressing was the disorderly fashion people were conducting themselves in church. In trying to find expression for their utterance gifts, they were grossly disorderly. He ends the issue by saying 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
In the same chapter though, Paul adequately addresses what speaking in tongues is all about.
- 1 Corinthians 14:2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. The believer who prays in tongues is speaking directly to God. There can be no eaves dropping of any kind. The mysteries you speak can be anything. When you pray in the understanding you simply pray what you know about the matter. When you begin to pray in tongues, you begin to pray the things you don’t know about the matter, the mysteries. You may not know them but the Holy Spirit does. He helps you pray to the Father concerning the matter you are praying about. You move away from the known to the unknown with the One who knows it all.
- 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. To edify means to enlighten, inform, educate, instruct, improve and teach yourself. When a believer prays in tongues, he begins to get a clearer picture of who God is, His plans, His instructions, His ways, His word. They all become clearer. Things going on in their lives that are hazy become clearer. Edification.
- 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. One of the things that our minds struggle with is that we don’t understand what we are saying. We feel it is all gibberish. Yes it is to your mind. It is unfruitful to your mind. Paul confirms it. But to your Spirit, it illuminates. Your spirit catches it first, then your mind will be able to get a hold of things later. YOU DO NOT NEED TO UNDRESTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. We must allow ourselves to be foolish on this matter otherwise we will never start. It is an act of faith, stick out your ‘foolish’ neck and experience the flow.
Like I said before, I have had great experiences in prayer through speaking in tongues. I just took a blind leap many years ago and discovered what it was about. Someone said speaking in tongues is a love language. I beg to disagree. It is a prayer language. If we call it a love language it appeals more, especially to women. If it is a love language, then it becomes optional. But that is not what it is. But if you take it for what it is then when you need to talk to God, you will pray in tongues. It will not be optional. It becomes an active part of your prayer life.
As believers we all have the Holy Spirit. This is just the next step. When He showed up in the Acts of Apostles, He came for good. If we just take bits and pieces of Him, it does not minimize who we are in Christ. But it minimizes the entire Christian experience. You cannot be all that God intended without His prayer language working things for you. Just get into your closet, start with ‘la, la, la’ or ‘ma, ma, ma’ or whatever. Just ask the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself, then open your mouth and He will fill it. It is that simple. Trust me. Ck