Speaking in Tongues
I thank God for this wonderful gift He has given us. But I have yet to fully unpack all that is involved in this blessing but will attempt to share what I have experienced.
In Acts 2 Pentecost when flaming tongues of fire appeared above the heads of people in the upper room and then they spoke in foreign languages they did not know. It was confirmed they spoke in foreign languages by people who were from those foreign countries and just happened to be in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost.
Acts 2 tongues were the supernatural ability to speak a language you did not know but other people would know.
“When this sound of wind came from heaven, the crowd came together and were confounded, because each man heard them speaking in his own language.” Acts 2:6
Later in Acts 8 Philip went to Samaria preached revival and there were many miracles, signs and wonders and many Samaritans were saved and baptized. Peter and John were sent by the church in Jerusalem to see what was happening.
“they (Peter and John) prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, for still He had not come ON none of them. They were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that through the laying on of hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money . . .” Acts 8:15-18
- Scripture does not say they spoke in tongues but it is implied.
Paul in Ephesus met with 12 men who had been baptized according to teaching of John the Baptist. Paul asked, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” Acts 19:2
“When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in OTHER tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” Acts 19:6-7
2 types of tongues:
1. Tongues of men – known = earthly tongues
2. Tongues of angels – unknown = heavenly tongues
Why do we need the gift of tongues?
Because life on earth is filled with so much futility, and things we do not understand, and many mysteries of what is going on behind the scenes in the spirit world.
Romans 8:22 Paul described it as creation itself “groans and travails in pain together until now” = the earth realizes that something is being birthed but has not happened yet.
“Not only that, BUT WE ALSO, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves while eagerly waiting for (our placement as mature sons in the kingdom).” Romans 8:23
A groan is an expression not a usually a word. It is an expression from deep within. A groan with pain is an expression of pain. A groan of grief is expression beyond words that comes from deep within.
Groans from the Spirit deep within by pass the mind and flow through the mouth or tongue.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with GROANINGS TOO DEEP FOR WORDS.” Romans 8:26
Words that are spoken are first thoughts in the mind then spoken.
Groaning’s are from the Spirit and by-pass the mind and flow through the tongue or voice. They come from the mind of the Spirit.
“He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He (the Holy Spirit), intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:27
The HS intercedes (prays) according to the will of God.
Note in verse 26:
“Likewise, the Spirit helps US in OUR weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for US with groaning’s too deep for words.”
Words come from the mind.
“Groan” # Stenagmos – a sigh or groan
Groaning comes much deeper from the Spirit. It can be translated a cry – a groan, a sigh of intercession releasing something so deep that there are no words but God understands what the groan or sigh means.
Ill. Jesus came to the be with Mary and Martha after their brother Lazarus died. “When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in His Spirit and was troubled.” John 11:33
Some of the Jews were saying, “Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind, have kept this man from dying?”
“Then Jesus again groaning with Himself came to the tomb.” John 11:38
I am not implying that Jesus was speaking in tongues. Jesus did not need to speak in tongues – because He perfectly knew the mind of the Spirit of God. But we often do not and so we need to pray in tongues.
“Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” I Cor. 14:1
Love is the motive for desiring spiritual gifts.
We should all desire to prophesy – inspired speech to bless everyone who hears.
But there is another spiritual gift that is to be used in private as a devotional tool to help you. What are the benefits of praying in tongues?
1. Tongues used in private as devotion to God.
“For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries.” I Cor. 14:2
You are speaking to God not men. They are mysteries to you but not to God.
“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” Verse 14
- My mind gets no understanding by praying in tongues but my spirit does! You are praying beyond your intellect and praying the mind of Christ.
The Apostle Paul was an intellectual and said in verse 18 that he spoke in tongues more than any of them! It must be important!
“Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9-10
When you have prayed all you know to pray or you don’t know how to pray about a situation – pray in tongues to God alone privately. You mind may be on one person or one thing and bring it to God in tongues and rest that He understands the mystery to you.
What is a mystery to you = something you don’t understand – something that seems overwhelming to you. Now take this mystery and pray the mystery back to God in tongues.
For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries.” I Cor. 14:2
Praying in tongues is God’s gift to you to pray to Him when you are baffled by a mystery and don’t know how to pray anymore in your mind!
One good reason to pray in tongues is because the enemy cannot understand what you are saying. He hates people praying to God in tongues!
We have an enemy spirit – watcher demons. They watch us and listen to our words. Ill. Ever told a plan you had to someone then the plan was so ruined? Don’t speak everything out loud.
Ill. WWII Marines in the Pacific used some Marine Navajo Indians who used their native tongue to communicate over the radio and the Japanese could not break the code. This special unit was called the “Wind talkers”, because they seemed to be talking to the wind.
The word for Spirit in Greek is pnuema or wind or breath. We have a secure way to talk to God without the enemy understanding.
It is by your choice and an act of your will to pray this way!
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. I Cor. 14:15
2. Another benefit to praying in tongues is we are praying the perfect prayer.
“We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes . . .” Romans 8:26
3. We are building an edifice of faith.
“He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” I Cor. 14:4
“But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 20