Speaking in tongues is so powerful. I speak in tongues more than I am aware. There are many times that suddenly I find myself just pouring my heart out in praises in a tongue that I am not familiar with.
I grew up Pentecostal. It was the tradition that my forefathers adhered to. I find myself inspired by their faith, but I consider myself Christian more than Pentecostal now. But speaking in tongues was something that I learned when I was still a teenager. In fact, it is almost 30 years now since I first started praying this way.
I remember being sort of afraid when I first heard about this gifting that is described in the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians 12-14. I remember thinking that it would be quite strange to speak in a language that I didn’t understand or never heard. But if it was real I wanted it. This has been my practice ever since with the different things that are available spiritually because of the work of Christ on the cross.
If tongues were real I wanted to speak in tongues. Just as I have subsequently have prophesied, seen healings, seen miracles, signs and wonders. It all started with an initial hunger. Hunger is the fuel of spiritual experiences. As you hunger and thirst the promise of scripture is that you shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
I was a young person in 1987 attending a youth group in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I loved the fellowship of my friends who attended that church. It was called Bethesda. I remember one of my friends had been speaking in tongues since he was a boy. I found that very fascinating and wanted to understand the encounter so that I might also enter into it.
Back in those days it was common for those who were seeking the gift of tongues to linger after a meeting and to be prayed for by those who had already received the gift. I had another friend who also wanted to speak in tongues so the both of us one Saturday evening after youth group stayed so that those who had the gift could pray for us.
They laid hands on us and began to pray. They even began to talk to us about how the gift worked. They would say just let your mouth begin to speak. Don’t worry about what comes out. Just trust that whatever comes out is of the Holy Spirit. Many of my friends when they heard this would get very afraid. Somehow, they got it into their minds that when they opened their mouth God would take over and they would speak in tongues uncontrollably. I have had many friends who have spent 20 or more years confused like this and as a result have not had the encounter.
I didn't speak in tongues that Saturday night because it didn't really make sense to me at the time. I had to go home and think about it and read the scriptures and I did. It was in my room one night that I started to pray this way. In those days I spent 1 to 2 hours in my room each night praying and seeking God. The gift of tongues unfolded in my life in my prayer closet. It was very simple at first but it increased quickly.
I have learned that every time I speak in tongues I am a part of the experience. As I have matured in it I often find myself praying in tongues without really thinking about it at all. I might just turn my head to look at the sun on the noon sky and the beauty of it so overwhelms me that I just begin to pray in tongues. I might be outside on a starry night when thousands of lights dance above my head and my heart begins to rejoice and from my mouth comes a prayer in tongues. I just do it now. It is not from the place of effort but from the place of praise.
I understand the scriptures. I understand that when I pray in tongues that many things can be taking place. I know that it is the Holy Spirit inside of me praying to heaven the exact prayers that I need to be prayed. My mind may not know what I need prayer for but the Holy Spirit does and when I pray in tongues it is like a funnel of freedom going before the throne of God releasing exactly what my life needs.
In the same way tongues can be about intercession for others. There are many times when I find tongues pouring from my heart and my mind pictures another person. I imagine in those moments that the Holy Spirit is using me as a vessel to pray his prayers for other people.
In some ways I just know that when I speak in tongues it is just my heart rejoicing in my savior’s love. I feel a fiery peace inside of me. In much the same way I feel a fire when I fast. I will do anything to stay within that fire. Whatever God ask of me is worth the cost of his freedom and his liberty. It is why I pray in tongues. It is why I counted the cost and surrendered my life to him.
I pray that if you haven’t prayed in tongues that every prejudice toward the gift will be destroyed in your heart. I pray also that every fear of it will also be removed. May God open you heart and pray his prayers through your life. May he give you this grace and his fire to continue in it.
The Apostle Paul said that he was thankful that he prayed in tongues more than everyone else (1 Corinthians 14:18). If it was good for him it is good for me and you too. So, seek God for this powerful gift today.