Speaking in tongues

To start with this study, I want to look at the importance of speaking in tongues. Jesus said in Mark 16:17 that “these signs will follow those that believe. In My name they will cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues…” It is important, because Jesus said, that those that believe will speak in tongues. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.” If it was important for Paul then it must be important to us. Furthermore, we read in 1 Corinthians 14:39, “… and forbid not to speak with tongues.” To forbid, or ignore the importance of this gift, is disobedience to the word of God.

In this study, we will look at the benefits of speaking in tongues. Therefore, we will take it for granted that you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the ability to speak in tongues.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is not to help you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit or to speak in tongues, but to examine the benefits of speaking in tongues. With that in mind we can proceed.

We receive the following benefits when we speak in tongues:

The first benefit of speaking in tongues, is to  give us the assurance that we have been Baptized in the Holy Spirit.

As we have already discussed in the study, “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” I made the comment that: “In three out of the five examples from the book of Acts, the believers spoke with tongues when they were baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit. The other two examples imply this.”  

We read about the example in Acts chapter 10. Peter goes to the house of Cornelius; the believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Peter then reports back to the other apostles and says to them in Acts 11:15-16, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us,“How did he know that they were baptised in the Holy Spirit? It is because he heard them speaking with tongues!

The second benefit is what tongues together with the gift of interpretation of tongues does. 

We read in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” Without going into any detail, the public utterance in tongues in a public meeting, together with the gift of interpretation of tongues, releases a prophetic utterance for edification, comfort and encouragement in the public meeting.  This public application of this is covered in the study called, “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

We can also interpret our own tongues. It says in 1 Corinthians 14:13, “Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” We can pray in tongues, and then take a step of faith and speak out by faith the words that come into our minds. Furthermore, the interpretation may not necessary come as an utterance, but an  inspired thought or a deep knowing in our hearts what we should do or what God wants us to say or do. This is a wonderful way to encourage ourselves as well as release prophetic words over our lives. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will show you things to come.

The third benefit is that  tongues can enable us  to communicate with others in a language that we have not learnt. 

We have an example of this in Acts 2:11, when on the day of Pentecost, we read how the people of Jerusalem were astonished and said “… we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” When I was at university, my landlady gave me this amazing testimony. “One day I was preaching the gospel to a group of Zulus living near the city of Durban in South Africa.  They could not understand English and I could not understand their Zulu tongue. I spoke in English and what they heard was me speaking in Zulu. When they spoke back to me in Zulu, what I heard was them speaking in English.” I have heard many similar testimonies. Therefore, this gift can help us preach the Gospel in languages that we do not understand!

The fourth benefit of  tongues is to edify us and to increases our anointing.

 Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:4 and says, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.  The word ‘edify’ means to ‘build oneself up.’ Speaking in tongues is one of the means that God has given to us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:18, “I thank my God; I speak with tongues more than you all.”  Smith Wigglesworth, who was greatly used by God, was asked about the secret of his great anointing. He simply answered, “I speak in tongues a lot.”

Isaiah 28:11-12 says, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest … and this is the refreshing…” Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 14:21 in the context of speaking in tongues. When we speak a lot in tongues, we will be refreshed and filled with the Holy Spirit. We may often ‘sense’ a physical manifestation of the anointing.

The fifth benefit is that it can increase our level of faith:

In Jude 1:20 we read, “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” If we struggle to believe for an answer to prayer or for a miracle, we can pray in tongues a lot. As we do so, an assurance will come into our hearts and it will be easier to pray and believe. I have had the experience of struggling to believe that God would answer a certain prayer. As I prayed in tongues a lot, an assurance came into my heart that God would answer my prayer. In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we read: “Now we have received … the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” As we pray in tongues a lot, the Holy Spirit makes it easier for us to believe.

The sixth benefit, is that tongues enables us to pray according to God’s will. 

Paul said in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself [Himself] make intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” [Another translation says; “with words that cannot be put into a known language.”]  We have a weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should. Often our prayers are selfish and stupid. Praying in tongues will enable us to pray for things that we do not know about.

In 1 Corinthians 14:14 we read, “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” Notice he said, “My spirit prays.” The Amplified Bible reads, “My spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays . . . .”  When we pray in tongues, our spirit is in direct contact with God, Who is a Spirit and there is a prayer partnership between the Holy Spirit and our human spirits. Let us look at another verse that confirms this.

In 1 Corinthians 2:11 we read, “For what man knows the things of man except the spirit of man that is in Him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that we consist of spirit, soul and body. When we receive Jesus, the life of Jesus comes into our human spirit by the Holy Spirit, and we are born again. We therefore have the perfect life of Jesus living in our born again spirits. Then in Proverbs 20:27, we read that, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching the inner depths of his heart.”

So what happens when we pray in tongues? Our human spirit who searches our hearts, knows our needs. The Holy Spirit on the other hand knows the will of God. So when we pray in tongues, our human spirit together with the Holy Spirit forms a prayer partnership and prays according to the will of God. So when we pray in tongues we often pray about things that are even hidden from our minds. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:2, “He that speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” We will pray about things that even our natural minds are not aware of.

I have noticed more divine appointments and wonderful opportunities after I had prayed much in tongues. I once heard a testimony of a well known pastor in the USA. One day he was invited to the White House to be an adviser to the president. When he asked God, why this happened, the Lord said that this was an answer to a prayer request. Without being aware of it, when he prayed in tongues, he was asking God to send him to the White House. 

In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes and says, “God is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (of the Holy Spirit) that is in you.” Therefore, as we pray in the spirit, or pray in tongues, we release the power that is in us for God to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or think.

The seventh benefit of tongues, is that it enables us to glorify God

Jesus said in John 16:15, that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him. In Acts 2:11, we read “… we hear them speaking in own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  When we speak in tongues, we are often speaking about the wonderful works of God! Furthermore, we do not only speak in tongues, but we can also sing in tongues. We read in 1 Corinthians 14:15, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”  So when we sing in tongues, we give to God the most beautiful adoration that even goes beyond our natural abilities.  We can therefore combine praise, worship and thanksgiving, with speaking in tongues. We can worship with our understanding then, take a step of faith and worship in tongues. 

The eighth benefit of tongues, it that it enables us to be led by the Spirit.

The Bible says, in Romans 8:14, “Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.”  We also read in 1 Corinthians 14:21, “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people...” When we speak in tongues a lot, we will become more sensitive to the leading and the voice of God. It quietens our flesh, especially our carnal thoughts and enables our human spirit to have dominance over our minds and emotions. A good practice is to write down the questions we want to ask the Holy Spirit then pray in tongues as a step of faith and then write down the impressions and the thoughts that come into our minds.

The ninth benefit is that tongues enables us to grow spiritually: 

The ninth use of this gift is to help us grow spiritually. We have already read in Jude 1:20, “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” In this case it will help us to increase our level of faith. We read in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” When we speak in tongues a lot, it enables us to walk in the Spirit and as we walk in the Spirit, we will have victory over the desires of the flesh.

Two important questions:

Firstly, when or how often should we speak in tongues? The answer is, as much as possible, even when we do not feel like doing so. Speaking in tongues is a decision of the will and not just a stirring of our emotions. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:15, “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.”  Paul boasted that he spoke in tongues more than all. The more we use this gift, the more this gift will benefit us. 

Secondly: How long should we speak in tongues? We should speak long enough until we sense something happening in our minds and emotions. There should be an increased level of peace and joy. We may even experience our language in tongues becoming deeper and more profound. When Paul wrote about tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:21, he quoted a verse in Isaiah 28:11 which says, “This is the rest, this is the refreshing...” Therefore, we should speak until we feel spiritually an emotionally refreshed which can take some amount of time! Often, when we start to speak in tongues, it may seem that nothing is happening and our thoughts may even wander. However, if we persevere, our minds will settle down and we become more aware of God’s presence.

Finally, speaking in tongues is often the entrance to the other gifts of the Holy Spirit and connects us with the supernatural spirit world. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 it is called the language of angels. The more we speak in tongues, the more we will experience wonderful things happening in our lives such as divine appointments and amazing opportunities. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:29,do not forbid the speaking with tongues.” Let us obey the word of God and experience the wonderful benefits of this amazing gift.   Amen