Growing up, our family attended a non-denominational Pentecostal church where speaking in tongues were practiced. Having heard tongues regularly in the church I was not uncomfortable around it. I just didn’t fully understand its purpose. I questioned why tongues were used and interpretation was given in the church when we all spoke English in the first place. For those who’ve never heard speaking in tongues, it sounds much to me like any other foreign language; there are various syllables quickly uttered. Our family stopped going to church when I was in about the fourth grade. I didn’t hear speaking in tongues again until I was an adult.
Married and much more skeptical in my adult years, when I did hear speaking in tongues again while visiting a church, I questioned it. I recall scripture in the Bible about the gift of tongues, and I know my Grandpa spoke in tongues and is no doubt a legitimate Spirit-filled Christian, but I still just thought it strange.
In February of 1999 I’d visited a Pentecostal church with my husband. We’d both gone up for prayer. For someone who had too much pride to have such an experience in front of a congregation of strangers, both my husband and I had something amazing happen. While the pastor was praying for a need, I felt something over me. It was like something welling over in my heart and both my husband and I began to speak in tongues. It was as if all the heaviness that had been on me was removed and there was perfect peace. I knew that I knew that I knew, God had heard my prayer and everything was going to be alright. It was a breakthrough in my life for me.
I have spoken in tongues since, though I attend a church where tongues are not spoken (as far as I’ve ever heard). I do not have it come over me often. There will be times when I’m in prayer and I feel overcome with the same kind of welling up in my heart and it happens. I know in my heart what I’m praying during this time though there might not be words to put to it.
I know many are very skeptical of speaking in tongues and I understand because I was there too. I can’t deny what I know whole heartedly was of the Lord, but I truthfully still am skeptical of some who claim to have had certain spiritual experiences. I believe we have to be careful as Christians to discern what is or isn’t of the Lord, not just with speaking in tongues, but with signs and wonders as well.
- “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through he same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12 7-11)
- “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 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. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)
- “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.” (Romans 8:26)
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