Acts 2:3-4 (NKJV)
‘Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’
The gift of tongues is first seen in the bible in Acts when the Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost. When the gift arrived, all the disciples were meeting in one place and I assume they were praying and waiting on God. Previously Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit and the first sign of the arrival of the Spirit was this gift, the ability to speak in unknown heavenly languages or other earthly languages that would be impossible humanly speaking. This gift was alive then, but today this great gift has seemed to have died out and it has been looked down upon by many believers despite the fact that this is clearly biblical and God wants us to exercise this gift regularly. The fact that so many are divided about this gift shows that Satan is clearly worried when Christians do use this gift to advance the kingdom of God and so the devil has either completely put people off the gift or he has made some think it’s not even real and therefore, what should be a major blessing to the people of God has become a problem when it shouldn't be this way.
Some may feel that this gift is less important when considering gifts like healing and the gift of miracles, however we should never underestimate the power of tongues when interceding, giving thanks, praying for healing or whatever we are praying because Satan cannot understand this language and also when praying in tongues you are praying the perfect prayer as you don’t pray, instead it is the Holy Spirit that gives you the utterance; the bible tells us that when we speak in tongues, our mind is unfruitful and it is our spirit that does the praying.
1 Corinthians 14:2 (NKJV)
‘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.’
Think about it, every time you speak in this supernatural language not only will you be closer to Jesus, but it is like having a direct phone line to the throne room of heaven! We are not praying to the air but to the Father himself! It doesn’t matter if man doesn’t understand you because God can. Whenever you speak in tongues, your spiritual senses will be activated and other gifts will come as a result! The gift of tongues is so many things; a weapon against the enemy, a discipline to make you spiritually stronger, a way to help you in your prayer life and above all it is powerful!
1Corinthians 14:4 (NKJV)
‘He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself...’
The effects of speaking in tongues are wonderful and we may never know really how much this gift benefits us because it is mysteries that we utter. Unlike gifts of healing where it is obvious when the gift is seeing results, the gift of tongues is unseen, but by faith we must trust that what we are saying in this language is either advancing God’s kingdom or bringing him more glory! From my own experiences I can tell you for sure that since having the gift of tongues my faith life has become more alive, more powerful and more enjoyable!
1Corinthians 14:18 (NKJV)
‘I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;’
From this statement by the apostle Paul we can see that he spoke in tongues very regularly, as he clearly had the boldness to write this. Some may think he was boastful in saying this and to be honest I, too, used to ponder this in my heart until I realised he was writing this under the influence of the Holy Spirit and it should be a great encouragement for us to use this gift much more often. He obviously thought the Corinthian church were not speaking enough in tongues and the Church today (on the whole) certainly need to use this gift more. Paul, here gives us a clue into his prayer life, his devotional life and he also gives us a clue as to why he was so close to Jesus and why he was able to do so much for him! One of those reasons has got to be because of the amount of time that he spent speaking in tongues!
When using the gift of tongues the Holy Spirit will eventually give you the interpretation. He might give you a vision, a verse of scripture or someone to pray for; either way the Holy Spirit will guide and teach you!
I have talked about this gift as being a weapon, however let us not forget that it is a language of love between you and Jesus. Often when we speak in tongues we express our innermost feelings of love for Jesus, which simply cannot be expressed in our own words but only by the spirit’s words!
Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’
Not only when we speak in supernatural languages in the spirit are we enduring in our prayers, but the spirit is making intercession on behalf of us because of our weaknesses (the Holy Spirit knows what we need more than we do and letting him pray helps us). For example, if we are sick we can pray in tongues and the Holy Spirit will give us our healing! And sometimes when we feel that we have done all we can to pray then the Spirit can take over when we speak in supernatural languages.
Overall, I want to encourage those of you who have either received the gift of tongues but don’t use it much and those of you who have not received this gift, because it is for every believer today! Receiving this gift is simple and all it takes is prayer and a step in faith. Also, we must have a strong desire in our hearts for the gift (1 Corinthians 14:1). If you would like you can get another believer to pray with you to receive this gift? The bible tells us that receiving the Holy Spirit and his gifts is a matter of asking, waiting and simply having faith that what you have asked for you will receive!
Luke 11:9-13 (NKJV)
‘“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”’
Father God, I thank you that your desire is to give good gifts to your children and so I pray Lord that you would pour out your Holy Spirit upon me, empowering me to live for you in all I say, do and think and through your Spirit within me may I glorify your name. Father, I seek from you that through your Holy Spirit you would give me the ability to speak in tongues. I receive this gift and I receive this baptism of your Holy Spirit and I thank you for this gift, In the name of Jesus.
If you have prayed that prayer or something along those lines or if someone has prayed with you or for you to receive this gift then start to thank God because he has heard your prayer and you have received this gift! Now just take a step out in faith and start to speak, letting the Holy Spirit guide you. Exercise this gift regularly and watch your love for Jesus and your faith grow! And remember:
1 Corinthians 14:39 (NKJV)
‘...do not forbid to speak with tongues.’