How can I learn to speak in tongues?
The gift of tongues is a gift from God’s Holy Spirit, which permits you to communicate with God.
1 Cor 14:2 “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.” NIV
Rom 8:26 “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” NIV It’s an awesome experience that can only be led by God’s Spirit in you.
It is a gift and as such it is not given to everyone:
1 Cor 12:7-11 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 1to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” NIV
“But how can I receive this gift”, you may ask. Let us study 3 cases mentioned in the book of Acts of people who experienced this wonderful gift. The Bible should always be our guide in answering all of our questions.
A. Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” NIV
To receive this gift according to this text you should
1. Be touched by God’s love and have accepted Jesus into your heart. This is why the disciples came together in one place.
2. Be willing to follow Jesus wherever He leads you. An intimate relationship with Jesus is a must.
The disciples had received the following command from Jesus Acts 1:4-5 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” NIV Anyone who said to themselves “I can receive this gift anywhere, I don’t need to stay in Jerusalem.”, would have missed this gift.
3. What were these disciples doing together in one place? The answer can be found at Acts 1:14 “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” NIV They were praying. Prayer, which is part of an intimate relationship with Jesus, is crucial to experience this gift from the Holy Spirit.
B. Acts 10:44-47 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” NIV
1. This is Peter’s first experience with the conversion of gentiles to the cause of Christ. They heard the gospel message and took it in. Again, one must be touched by God’s love and accept Jesus into one’s heart before being able to experience this gift.
2. They were praising God and were thus in communication with God through prayer.
C. Acts 19:4-7 “Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.” NIV
1. Here again, these people accepted the gospel message and were baptized. They were touched by God’s love and accepted Jesus into their life.
2. When Paul placed his hands on them, they started to speak in tongues. What happens when a servant of the Lord places his hands on someone? He starts to pray and so does that individual. An intimate relationship with our Lord is a must. He reveals Himself in these moments.
These texts have shown us that to receive the gift of tongues you must accept God’s gospel message and accept Jesus into your heart. You need to be willing to follow Jesus wherever He leads you. You also must pray and have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you fight that gift of tongues, you will never experience it in your life, as God never forces Himself on people. But remember speaking in tongues is a gift from God and is not given to everyone. Don’t be discouraged if you do not receive it. Praise the Lord for all the other gifts He has bestowed on you!
For those who will receive this gift, you will also have to let God’s Spirit use your voice and start opening your mouth to let Him utter “groans that words cannot express”. Start praying out loud. When you feel God’s Spirit filling you, start praising God with all your heart. As you are praising, let God’s Holy Spirit take over and let him use your voice. Don’t resist Him. Let Him be the guide. Surrender your voice to God’s Holy Spirit and let Him express Himself through you. The utterances will arise from within you. You will be filled with utter joy and will be praising the Lord. You will be in contact with God through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 14:14 “For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays.” AMP
It’s an awesome experience. No one can give you that gift, but God’s Holy Spirit Himself. Those who criticize this gift have never experienced it and do not know what they miss. Our God is an awesome God. He cares so much for each one of us that He did send His son on our planet. Jesus died for your sins, so that you could experience eternal life. To accept His offer you need to accept Him into your heart. Why don’t you do so now by answering the Saviour’s Call.
Come enjoy His presence into your life. It makes such a difference. When filled with God’s Spirit after your acceptance of Jesus, enjoy any gifts that God will bestow on you. He cares for you my friend and wants you to experience Him in your life. Come and accept His invitation. You won’t regret it.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive answer to the question, but simply a testimony. This is what happened to me. It is a bit atypical of what happens to most, and because of this, I felt impressed to share.
I am not from a denominational background that promotes speaking in tongues. In fact, it doesn’t even acknowledge that the prayer language (language of angels) exists. So when a Charismatic friend began praying for me that I would receive the gift of tongues, I wasn’t sure I wanted this gift. In fact, I wasn’t even sure it existed! But it perked my curiosity to the point that I began to seek what the Bible — and NOT my denomination — had to say on the subject.
My denomination taught that speaking in tongues meant speaking in other known languages I had never learned, but after praying for God to reveal full truth, I discovered that the definition my denomination taught, though certainly ONE description of speaking in tongues, does NOT explain the majority of the Biblical references to speaking in tongues!
I began to pray that if there was some gift from God that I didn’t have — some gift that would enrich my walk with God — that I would receive it. Then one day it happened. I was sitting in my living room in the wee hours of the morning, seeking God, and I felt these sounds — syllables and words — just bubble up from inside.
I used the gift extensively for a couple of days, then my dad died quite suddenly, and the archenemy tried to convince me that this had something to do with praying in tongues. Though I didn’t really believe him, this, combined with 35 years of denominational brainwashing made me began to doubt that the gift was from God. After all, the devil can imitate spiritual gifts, and since I didn’t understand what I was saying, I felt out of control, vulnerable.
This went on for a couple of years, but during this time, God was working on me. He kept sending me messages like:
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matt 7:9-10
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:16-18
I then came to know and trust the guidance of a wonderful man of God who took the time to address my concerns. With the combination of the messages from God and the encouragement of this man, and of course, the Biblical truth that speaking in tongues was more than just speaking in known foreign languages that I had never learned, I overcame my fear of using the gift.
The result? My prayer life and my Christian walk have both been — for want of a more powerful description — richly blessed!
Oh, and one more thing.
I know that this doesn’t happen to everyone, but God knew I would doubt the gift’s authenticity, and as if to confirm that this was, indeed, a gift of Him, the moment I received the gift of tongues, God simply lifted from me a horrible addiction I had been struggling with for years. From that moment forward, I haven’t even had the urge to go back to what had plagued me for most of my life. When God’s Spirit comes over you, your life is never the same again!
So in summary, I didn’t receive the gift of tongues by asking for it. I received it by praying that if there were any gift of God that my walk with God would benefit from, I wanted it! I recommend this type of a prayer, rather than specifically praying for the gift of tongues. Why? Because it isn’t a gift for everyone. God has a special gift (or gifts!) earmarked for each of us. Only He knows what we need. And if He sees fit to give us the gift of tongues, without our specifically asking for it, than it must be that this is a gift that is earmarked for us!
Lyn Chaffart Altar worker, Bible Study Co-ordinator, Coordinator of Mini-Sermons, Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org
Questions, questions, questions! Always since the beginning of time, and, even now, there shall always be questions. How long? Why? When? Where? Can you help me? And the list is infinite, Just like the Bible Question for this week. It is a legitimate question, “How Can I Learn to Speak in Tongues?”
First, let me say that everyone has their own opinion, and rightfully so. However, I have learned over my many years that EXPERIENCE, has always been the true leader over THEORY. Theoretically something may look good on paper, or sound good in word, but until you’ve experienced it, theory isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. So, with regards to speaking in tongues, I share with you fact, and truth, not theory.
To begin with the Bible teaches us there are two types of speaking in tongues. 1.) The initial evidence of being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. Note, Acts 10: 44-47 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (45.) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. (46.) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, (47.) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Also, in Acts 19: 1-7, We see where Paul laid his hands on 12 disciples who had not heard of the Holy Ghost, and in verse 6, we read,… “And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
So, the reason for this initial evidence of speaking in tongues, is to confirm to the believer that they have received the Holy Ghost, and, also, to those near by, should there be any. It also differentiates between knowing the Holy Spirit has took up residence in your life, and that of just being blessed by the awesome presence of God, and there is a difference!
The second type of tongues is The “Gift of Tongues.” The nine (9) gifts of the Spirit, which includes that of Tongues, are used for the edifying of the Body of Christ, also, to bring the lost of this world to Jesus Christ!
I recall when as a young teenager living in Baltimore, Md. I had not been Baptized with the Holy Spirit much over 1 year. I had a teenage girl friend who was Italian, and raised Catholic. Her mother came under the Pentecostal persuasion, and she, her mother, and twin brother were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Now this family was very well off. Her mother’s oldest brother was the head of the home, and the family were big time general contractors. They lived in a 20+room house. One evening when visiting with them, just before leaving, the mother asked me if I would like to have a word of prayer before leaving, and I told her it would be fine. So, we went into the study where the old man was reading the paper. As we knelt to pray, in a short time I began to speak in tongues, and everything in the room got ghostly quite, in a little I heard someone get up an leave the room. Now all the while my eyes were closed, but I knew I was speaking in tongues, I knew someone left the room. Then after we finished, and got up, the mother came over to me and asked, “My blessuh sonuh goduh, Raleigha, do you speakuh italianuh???” I said ” No maam, in fact the only Italian I know is pizza, pepperoni, and your last name.” She then said to me, “No sonuh you speakeuh plainuh Italianuh, my homeuh language! Anduh goduh speakuh throughuh youuh, and uh telluh my brother, ifuh heuh layuh another finger onuh usuh, Goduh willuh strike uh himuh a dead! Anduh heuh turnuh white as a sheetuh, and get up, and he leaveuh this room! Oh, praiseuh the uh Lorduh!!!”
Now that was the Gift of Tongues. One, it edified the saints, and two, it warned the sinner. However, nowhere can I find in the Bible where we can learn to speak in tongues, and use it at our beck, and call. The Holy Ghost, nor speaking cannot be manipulated by anyone, yet we see, and hear of this going on today in the religious world.
Paul said in, 1Cr 12:30″Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” Apparently not, so, how does the Holy Spirit speak through every soul that is baptized in Him? Let’s look at, Rom 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
The voice, and speech of the Holy Spirit is with groanings which cannot be uttered, and it is through His praying through you in this manner that really gets results! If you sense your prayer life is void, do as King David did. In Psa 35:13 we read, “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” This will turn it around for you!
One thing of concern that the church in her state of apostasy, is that everything that that God has, Satan has a counterfeit duplicate! Remember in Ezek. 28:15, “Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Now what was this iniquity? He, because of his beauty, and pride wanted to become God!!! In Isa.14:14, we read, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” In this chapter we see he has a 5 point plan, and the 5th point is the above, “I WILL BE LIKE GOD!!!”
So, everything God has, he wants. He has a trinity, Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet. He even has tongues! In talking with a gay sometime back, he told me he, and his partner, whom incidentally he is married to, went to a Gay Pentecostal Church in Atlanta (GA). On this particular evening he was referring to, the minister, who also was homosexual, left the pulpit, came down into the congregation, stopped at his pew, laid his hand on his head, and began to speak with tongues! He said that when the minister laid his hand on his head, he received an experience he never had before, and his life has been the better for it, yet he is still living in the sin of homosexuality!!!
Keep in mind, Satan want to be like God, and worshipped! Look at how he approached Jesus in the wilderness, Mat 4:9 “And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Satan was offering Jesus the world he possessed if Jesus would bow down, and worship him!
Now let me say this, and it isn’t meant to be offensive. Satan, is using a lot of the Charismatics to his advantage! Follow me, and don’t leave yet without praying over what I am saying. You can be Holiness without being Pentecostal, but it is emphatically impossible to be true Pentecostal without being Holiness! And know that the Pentecostal experience is not a denominational experience, but rather an individual experience one has with God, that brings about a more deeper, and committed life in Jesus Christ! You cannot love the world, and love God at the same time, and yet we see this going on in the ranks of so-called Pentecostal Churches today!
You may ask, “How can I know the difference between what’s right, and wrong?” Well, the Bible says in, Phl 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,( mature spiritually) be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” God loves you more than often you realize, and He will not ket you be deceived if you search His Word!!! In, Matt. 22: 29. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Ye do err, simply means we deceive our ownselves by not staying in God’s Word!
My family, and I were raised Episcopal, but my Grandmother with whom I went to live with at age 13, came under the Pentecostal persuasion through many revelations from the Lord, and I found all of it to be Truth, and shall always be thankful for her Pentecostal Leadership in my life!
God has a special design on each of your lives! Don’t let Satan deceive you in majoring in minors, and minoring in majors! Walk ever humbly before the Lord, and His best shall always be yours!
Sincerely in His Service,
Romans 8:31-32 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who shall be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, freely give us all things?” 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord run to, and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect (bent, leaned) toward Him!!!”
One cannot learn to speak tongues. It is a gift! 1 Corinthians is the only epistle that mentions speaking in tongues. This phenomenon has nothing to do with “praying in the Spirit” (Rom. 8; Eph. 5; Jude 20). Therefore, “speaking in tongues” is not essential, as some claim, for the life or faith of a Christian. A person may speak in tongues (a foreign language), but this is never a proof that such a person is filled with, or even indwelt by, the Holy Spirit, let alone a spiritual believer (1 Cor. 1:5; 3:1).
The gift of tongues is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the sense that He gives this gift through sovereign grace to some in the Assembly and He works in them (1 Cor. 12). With regard to speaking in tongues (as well as any speaking), it is stated in 1 Corinthians 14:34 that women should be silent in the local church. Therefore, we now come to a command of God, given at the beginning, but still valid for today. Yet, when these “gifts” are displayed today, mostly women are involved. This is not said to discriminate against women! It is a matter of obedience to the Lord Jesus and of submission to the authority of His Word. As a gift of the Spirit, tongues receives the last place in 1 Corinthians 12:28 which shows the order of importance of it in ones Christian life.
Scripture reference Joel 2:28 prophecy, Acts 2: 17, Mark 16: 17; Acts 2: 4; 2-11; 10: 46; 19: 6; 1 Cor. 12: 10; 12:28; 1 Cor. 13: 8. 14:5-6; 14-18; 1 Cor. 14: 22.
Tongues given by the Holy Spirit cannot be taught, the Giver of spiritual gifts must be “sought.” As we seek the Lord, the Giver of good gifts, He will give us the gift of the infilling or “outflowing of His Spirit and tongues which is released from within as He has poured it out upon us from on high. We may learn how to seek for the gift but cannot teach one to speak in tongues, only how to “reach out to the Savior” and ask that they might receive of Him. Souls must believe it is for them and a “good gift of God” which He still gives to His children today. Speaking in tongues is not necessary to be saved but is a blessing from being saved as we seek more of God and desire to be used of Him as witnesses of His amazing grace and power.
Mark 16: 17 tells us one of the signs which follow believers is “they shall speak with new tongues, in His name.” It is only by His authority and power one can speak in an unknown tongue which is the tongues of men or angels. There is a gift of tongues which is a ministry gift for the Body of Christ in the Church today and also a language which is spoken in prayer and adoration to God as one’s spirit prays to God. The Christian does the speaking by yielding their members unto the Lord but the Holy Spirit gives the utterance or words to speak as they trust in Him.
We are told that “out of our belly (heart) shall flow rivers of living waters. We know Holy Spirit is often referred to as compared to waters, as being “poured out.” Jesus sent another Comfortor, the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost as those waited to receive power from God in the upper room. The initial evidence of His presence which came to abide with them was not only wind and cloven tongues of fire upon them, but they spoke in “new (unlearned) tongues” as the Spirit within gave them the utterance on this day. They magnified and glorified God in other languages which was a sign to the unbelivers pointing to the Savior. The tongues spoken was a sign to unbelievers and gave an opportunity for Peter to preach a great sermon and resulted in the salvation of souls. True signs given by God and following believers always point to the Savior. Peter explained these were not drunken as they supposed but “this is that” which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel when he said the Lord would pour out His Spirit in the last days as in Joel 2: 28.
One can only speak in tongues as they are lead or yield to the Holy Spirit. It is an act of their will as “He wills” and has given the gift. Tongues are not learned, but are received as a gift from God as one desires to be endued with power from on high. Christians receive the Holy Spirit in their lives when they are born into the family of God, as one must be born of the spirit. Without the Spirit of God, we are none of His. Although we receive the Holy Spirit when we repent and are adopted into the family of God, God has more which He will give us as we seek Him and allow Him to be Lord of every area of our life. He will baptize us with the Holy Ghost and with fire (zeal of the Lord) when we seek Him and praise Him for his wonderous works.
Baptize also means “to overwhelm” in Greek and other word meanings. The Holy Ghost was “poured out” on the day of Pentecost, as promised, and “overwhelmed those present” by not only being in them, but flowing out of them as they were filled from on high to overflowing. They were the ones who spoke in languages or other tongues, but it was God’s Holy Spirit flowing through them as water, to baptize them with power to be witnesses and accomplish the works of the Lord. Because of this power and the “sign to unbelievers” who heard the Galilleans speak in their native tongues, there were souls saved as God was glorified and testimony was given of Him. Those gathered from other Nations at the Feast of Pentecost said they heard the 120 speak “the wonderful works of God” and his message in their own language, yet these were unknown languages to those speaking. They trusted God and spoke out as the spirit gave them the words to utter. It is an act of our will to speak and the Holy Spirit gives the language or words which will be spoken as we utter them in praise and communion to God. Souls were still receiving and being filled with the Spirit years after the day of Pentecost and are still filled today as they seek and yield to the Holy Spirit.
One may ask what they can do to receive the Holy Spirit or as most refer to this as (baptism of the Holy Spirit) of those who speak in tongues. It all must begin by being “in Christ” and having a hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are promised we shalled be filled and blessed if we hunger and thirst for righteousness which can only be found in Christ. He who drinks of the Spirit (this water), shall never thirst again. He is the living water that flows out of our innermost being and who gives us power to be witnesses. If one will seek the Lord and praise Him with thanksgiving by giving Him glory and honor due as they ask Him for power to witness and His gifts, He will answer and they shall be filled. Sometimes a better way to explain the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues is that we “release the Spirit that dwells in our hearts” as He fills our lives with His power and glory. The language of the Spirit released from our innermost being may sound strange but God understands the words or even groanings of the Spirit when they are uttered in love to Him. Many begin with “stammering lips” but this is still a praise unto the Lord and the Lord will give them a new tongue and language of prayer if they trust Him and lean not to their own understanding. Even if one only speaks one or two words after asking, they must trust this is the Lord given them a new language and contine to praise and seek Him. Thanking Him for however He answers and blesses will also bless us and our praise is received by the Lord.
If a gift of tongues is received, an interpretation can also be given though one who has been given the gift to explain as God gives them the understanding and will edify the body of Christ.
Trusting the Lord to give the words is something one must do to be able to let God’s Spirit fill them and be able to say as the Apostle Paul, “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all.”…..Paul thanked the Lord for the gift of speaking and praying in tongues, but also taught the church how all things were to be done decently and in order for the edification and building up of the Body of Christ. If we pray in tongues, we edify and build up “our spiritual temple”. If one speaks in open assembly and there is an interpretation given, it is equivalent with prophesy and is for the purpose of edifying the whole body of Christ. If there is not an interpreter, they are to speak to themselves and God so as to avoid any confusion and all things be in order.
When we know not how to pray, His Spirit will help us and makes intercession as we yield and trust in Him. One receives by asking God for His gifts and coveting earnestly the best gifts. If our child asks for a bread, we would not give them a stone or a serpent. This is the way it is with the Lord. When we ask Him, he will give us what is real and will make a difference. We do not have to fear not receiving the real thing if we are abiding in the Vine, Christ Jesus and ask of our Father.
For those who want to know how to speak in tongues, they must first desire a closer walk with God and more of the One who gives “tongues.” True speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance helps us in prayer and also one may have the gift of tongues to edify the Church. One must first be able to speak the language of God’s love in their own language to Him and others, as this is the first and greatest commandment. Without love, speaking in tongues is as a sounding brass and tinkling symbol. 1 Cor. 13: 1. Love never fails and the Lord will not fail to give His children who ask Him the best gifts as they earnestly covet for them and His power to witness.
Blessings in Christ,
Jo Ann Kelly
Some churches have Sunday School classes for teaching how to speak in tongues. What they are teaching you is how to fake a spiritual gift.
I highly recommend that you read for yourself 1 Corinthians 12-14. You do not learn a gift. There is altogether too much peer pressure at a select few churches to speak in tongues. Tongues is just one of the many manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I also recommend reading Galatians 5. This second passage shows that the best evidence of the Holy Spirit comes from a person’s loving attitude.
One doesn’t “learn to speak in tongues.” If that gift is still viable, and God wants us to have it, He will give it to us, and the speaking in tongues will come naturally. We must be sure though, that it is done in the Biblical order of things.
Because of Calvary, yours, Delmer G. Lawson
Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Blessed Holy Spirit. I was praying one day struggling with words and I asked the Holy Spirit to help me to pray and a beautiful language came from my lips. I was overjoyed.
From there I asked Him to give me the Gift of Prophesy and He gave me the gift of Tongues in church – someone else interpreted the message.
Hi just a very simple response to this simple question.
We don’t! (“learn” to speak in tongues).
If the gift of tongues is truly a gift, then all we are to do is to genuinely and thirstily seek and receive this free gift.
Thankfully we have been spared the academic ritual of having to learn a new language – it is a free gift from a Gracious Giver.
We may become more “fluent” in the use of the gift, but it is not learned it is just “used”.
In His service