Last week we began speaking about the powerful spiritual gift of diverse tongues. We focused on our own heavenly prayer language, where the Holy Spirit prays the perfect will of God through us. Today we are going to move on to the other part of this gift, that includes a different kind of tongue. The Bible speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 14:22, where tongues are used as a sign for unbelievers. This usually takes place in a gathering of people, like a church service. This type of tongue will always have an interpretation accompanying it, either by the person bringing the tongue or another believer. Again, this is released in our spirits as the Holy Spirit wills. The Apostle Paul was very clear on how to operate in this gift when in a gathering so as to profit all, at the appropriate time in the service so the flow of what God is doing is not interrupted. Releasing a tongue and interpretation of that tongue at the appropriate moment is a wonderful demonstration of the supernatural and a very effective witnessing tool as well as a means to encourage and build the body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1, the Apostle Paul refers to us speaking in the tongues of men and of angels. I have heard a testimony of a pastor who held a prayer meeting and while they were praying in the Spirit, one of his members began to pray in a tongue that was distinctively different to their normal heavenly language, and it brought a powerful manifestation of the Presence of God with it. After the meeting the Lord impressed on his heart that it was a tongue of angels. I have been in church meetings where the presence of the Lord was like a thick blanket in the room, and everyone present was caught up in the tangible glory of God, worshipping Him in our heavenly language; and as we lifted our voices together, there was a sound that came from our worship that sounded as if the angels of heaven were right there worshipping with us, ushering in and maintaining such a deep level of intensity of the Holy Spirit in the atmosphere. What an awesome experience. In that atmosphere the miraculous takes place. Lives are significantly touched and changed forever; healing, signs and wonders flow freely in an atmosphere charged by the presence of God!
Another type of tongue that the Holy Spirit can orchestrate through us, is where we are praying in our heavenly language and the Lord changes the dialect into a langue of man that is not our own. In fact we won’t even understand it, but we will speak a foreign language fluently, for a specific purpose. I’ve been in a church service where a person was released to operate in the gift of speaking in tongues. This man felt an intense urgency in His spirit to release it. After he did, we were all silent, waiting for an interpretation when someone from the congregation waved their arms excitedly and testified that the man had just spoken a message that touched his heart; and he could understand it perfectly because even though it was foreign to us; it was spoken fluently in his own language, from the country he came from.
When we obey the Holy Spirit and by faith exercise this gift, as the Holy Spirit wills, He changes the kind of tongue we speak at His own discretion. That doesn’t mean He takes control of our mouths and forces out strange languages without us being able to stop or start or switch back into our own native language; not at all - that’s not how He operates. We can choose to pray in the Holy Spirit or tongues whenever we want. When we do, and we focus in on the Presence of God, He will speak whatever heavenly tongue He feels appropriate for the moment - that part is completely up to Him, because it’s His Spirit speaking through us, and we have no intellectual understanding of what we are saying.
Let’s have a look at how this gift of diverse tongues took place in the Bible. In the account of the day of Pentecost, the Bible refers to the believers in the upper room as speaking in tongues; but as they continued to do so, the unknown tongues they were speaking in transpired into another miraculous occurrence! The Bible says in Acts 2:6; Acts 2:8 and Acts 2:11 that the believers began to speak in languages that were foreign to their own natural dialect, but known to the many foreigners that were gathered in Jerusalem that day.
So, three significant things happened that day. Firstly, the Holy Spirit descended upon and baptised each believer in the upper room, filling them with His Spirit. Secondly, He gave them the gift to pray and worship God in the Spirit, with unknown tongues, as their own prayer language. And thirdly, He gave them the ability to speak in foreign tongues that were not their own natural language, but understood by the foreigners standing by - being able to hear and understand the Gospel for the first time in their own language! This was praying in tongues as a sign to unbelievers.
Being baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is available to every believer, as it was to those in the upper room that day (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:4). Paul encourages us to regularly operate in this gift; not only to energise our spirits and worship God in Spirit and truth, releasing His perfect will in our lives, but also so He can use this gift to be a blessing to others too, as He chooses.
Just as the Holy Spirit is inside you, praying in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit has already given you, and it can be activated in you by faith. All you need to do is believe and reach out in faith to pray in tongues. It really has nothing to do with our intellect or our emotions. It's not about feeling anything; it's just simple faith and your mouth that's required.
Starting to pray in tongues is different for different believers; there isn't one set method to follow. Having said that, we must first be born again in order to be able to speak in tongues!
If you are a born again child of God and desire to operate in this gift, let me share my testimony with you on how I began to speak in tongues - it may be helpful to you to operate in this gift too.
When I had hands laid on me for the gift of tongues, nothing seemed to happen. But I was encouraged to focus on Jesus and worship Him. So for days after, I would spend time alone with the Lord, just worshipping and thanking Him, and little by little, a strange syllable would roll out of my prayers and worship. So I just kept saying it, amongst my English thanksgiving, and then more strange syllables would come. The more I 'practiced', the more the language would just flow.
My granny, on the other hand, had a very different experience. She was just sitting in church, when the Holy Spirit touched her. She jumped up out of her seat and began to fluently speak in tongues, as though it was a language she had always spoken in.
Pastor Neal Reyes, who teaches a brilliant series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, gives his own testimony on how he started praying in tongues too (you can find it on YouTube). He said his biggest ‘block’ or hindrance to praying in tongues was his mind. The more he prayed or worshipped, the more he found himself focusing intently on his words and thoughts and it really stopped him from just focusing on the flow of the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues. So he just started saying the syllable “bla bla bla”; he repeated it over and over while he was focusing on the presence of the Holy Spirit that was tangibly in the service, with people worshiping the Lord all around him. He said his as he repeated the “bla bla bla”, he would begin to say a different strange syllable; and he would just keep going until another, then another, then another would begin to flow - until there was no “bla bla bla” but a continuous flow of a heavenly language.
The bottom line is: every believer has the full measure of the Holy Spirit, living inside them. The power, gifts and fruit of the Spirit reside in us. The only way we activate the qualities of the Spirit is by faith - just believing and stepping out and practicing.
If you desire to pray in tongues, I encourage you to put on some worship music and get lost in God’s presence; and as you begin to praise and worship Him, you will find those new syllables or strange sounding words begin to come out. They can’t come out without you speaking them. So just speak what spontaneously comes up from your heart. It may seem a little strange or even silly at the time, but don’t give up, just thank Him for it and keep going!
I’m going to pray for you now to activate the gift of speaking in tongues; if you want this with your whole heart, place one hand on your belly and extend the other towards me. I say your belly because John 7:38 says that out of our innermost belly, will flow rivers of living water.
“Father, in Jesus’ Name, I thank You for Your precious Holy Spirit Who lives inside of me. I pray that right now You will baptise me in the Holy Ghost and activathe a fresh surge of Holy Ghost power inside me now. I pray that You fill me up with Your presence and activate the gifts of the Holy Spirit inside me, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, promised me in Your Word. I receive it now by faith in Jesus Name!”
Now be filled with the Holy Ghost and fire, and receive the activation of the gift of speaking in tongues - in the Name of Jesus!
Now open your mouth and begin to thank and worship Him, and let your heavenly language begin to flow.
Enjoy His power that is alive in you today!
All my love,