Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to Speak in Tongues

This spiritual gift is probably the most misunderstood and controversial gift of the Holy Spirit. Many people are raised thinking that speaking in tongues is just "crazy talk" gibberish that means nothing...other than getting attention (at best) or Satan talking through people (at worst). I am no expert on speaking in tongues but I can at least share my experience and what helped me....take it for what its worth.

Now any rational person can agree that speaking in tongues was a part of the Holy Spirit anointing on the day of Pentecost, right? So, that part is not in dispute because of what we read in Acts and I Corinthians 12 and 14. With me so far? For me, growing up in the Church of Christ, it is hard for me to picture Paul and the Apostles sitting around speaking in tongues...I thought they spoke King James English (heh, heh). Any way, all jesting aside, speaking in tongues was a regular part of a 1st century Christian's life.

And it can be a part of a present day Christian's life. Now, before you revoke my lifetime membership card to the Churches of Christ, there are many closet tongue speakers out there...they are just afraid of the rejection and torment of public rebuking so they keep it to themselves. I have talked to 6 such persons (2 in conservative fellowships) and they regularly speak in tongues in the privacy of their own homes (3 said their spouses don't even know).

So if you want to speak in tongues, here are some helpful hints:

1. All Spiritual gifts must be practiced and used to gain some sort of proficiency at them. Our flesh doesn't want us to speak in tongues...most of our training to be "Good Christians" didn't include tongue speaking class. It is not natural, especially if you have been told that it is wrong or crazy for 35 years. A person can learn to exhibit a spiritual gift.

2. Eagerly seek. Read I Cor. 14.1. Be eager in asking God for spiritual gifts...including speaking in tongues. Ask daily (or several times daily). Say, "God, if you want me to speak in tongues, then it is going to have to come from you. I ask for more of your Spirit, so your will can be done on earth. Lord, in the name of Jesus, loose my mouth to speak the words of the Spirit. Loose my tongues to speak your prayer language, place your language on tongue. Give me the courage and desire to exhibit your gifts."

3. Get your flesh used to speaking in tongues but saying nonsense words. This just helps you not to suppress the Spirit when it actually happens. In my first experience in speaking in tongues, I uttered about 5 words then totally shut scared me half to death to not be in control of what I spoke and took me months to do it again.

4. Be patient. Allow the Spirit to move instead of forcing yourself to do it. Wait upon the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

5. Before you stand up in church and "let 'er rip," try doing it by yourself at first. Try these exercises in your car or when no one else is around. It is difficult enough without the scrutiny or pressure of someone else watching (or the horrified looks of small children and conservative brothers and sisters).

6. Get someone to pray over you, lay hands on you and pray for the Spirit to speak through you. I appreciate my "tongue speaking" brother's prayers on my behalf to speak in tongues. It helped me to hear them speak in tongues and gave me the courage to try for myself.

Well, there you have it. If you have questions about my experience, ask me. I will not claim to have any of the answers but I can at least share more of my experience with you. ENJOY!


  1. I have had some experiences in speaking in tongues. I wrestled and 'eagerly desired the spiritual gifts' and one day in college God surprised me. The one area that i take issue with you is point 3. You do not train yourself to be ready to speak in tongues, the spirit just comes upon you! To train yourself by speaking gibberish that is not from God is a clanging gong or resounding symbol. Many people are skeptical of ministries that 'teach' people how to speak in tongues. I am all for praying over people to receive whatever gifts the spirit may pour out on them (which may be other things than tongues), but we need to make sure that we are being wise in our approach and biblical. Good thoughts overall though... For the most part i agree with you!

  2. I see your point Kurt. I do not think that talking nonsense words is speaking in tongues...It merely prepares the faint of heart or those who are scare of it to see that speaking different sounds is not all that bad. It very much freed me to allow the Spirit to move when it did happen.
    Thanks for your comment.