1. What is "Speaking in tongues?"
A tongue is another word for "language". One of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit during a Baptism of the Holy Spirit is that a person may start to speak in tongues - which can either be a heavenly language (which only God can understand), or it can be one of the 6,000 languages of the world.
2. Why should I want to speak / pray in tongues?
There are many reasons why you should want to speak or pray in tongues. Here is a few of them:
It opens the door to intimacy with God: Tongues is a beautiful and powerful part of your intimate relationship with God; a powerful tool for prayer, praise, and deeper worship (1 Corinthians 14:2,15; Jude 1:20).
It creates a powerful prayer: When you pray in tongues, you pray according to God's perfect will. Thus, it is extremely powerful and effective! (Romans 8:26-27)
It releases wisdom, direction and unlocks the mysteries of God: To speak in tongues is to speak God's secret wisdom in mysteries (1 Corinthians 2;7, 12-13), which are hidden from your natural consciousness, but which will then be revealed to help you make critical life decisions -- or give you new insights into things you would not have otherwise seen/understood before.
It is a language for warfare (Ephesians 6:18): Praying in tongues can thwart the enemy's plans (particularly useful during deliverance) because the devil cannot stand it.
Strengthens and builds you up: Praying in tongues edifies you; refreshes and rejuvenates your entire being (1 Corinthians 14:4).
3. What types of tongues are there and what are their purposes?
There are 4 types of tongues, as follows:
Tongues as a sign for unbelievers (public use);
Tongues for interpretations (public use);
Tongues for personal prayer (private use);
Tongues for intercession (private use);
Let's look at these in more detail:
Tongues as a sign for unbelievers (public use)
This is one of the languages of the earth that is unknown to the speaker, but is known to the hearer (usually unbelievers) in order to glorify God in some way (1 Corinthians 14:22). For example: The languages spoken on the Day of Pentecost were unknown to Jesus' disciples who spoke them, but known to the hearers in the crowd (Acts 2:1-11).
Tongues for interpretations (public use)
This is a heavenly language not known anywhere on earth, and is one of the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:10. Since its purpose is to edify the church (1 Corinthians 14:5), it must therefore be interpreted (which is not the same as "translated"). This is the type of tongue that the Apostle Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, a public gift which Jesus has ordained for ministry in the church.
Tongues for personal prayer (private use)
This is a language spoken by an individual to God privately, and therefore does not need interpretation. It is usually for personal edification and prayer, including worship and/or singing (1 Corinthians 14:2,15; Jude 1:20).
Tongues for Intercession (private use)
At times we do not know what to pray for, for whom, or even how to. Praying in tongues will do the job, nicely, accurately, and perfectly, according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Intercession is extremely significant in the advancement of God's kingdom on earth.
The "private" use mentioned here is that the person can be alone, or in the company of other believers who appreciate this manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
4. Do all Christians speak in tongues?
Most of those who have been baptised in the Holy Spirit can speak in tongues (at least a private tongue). Since all Christians should seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, then technically all Christians have the potential to speak in tongues, either private or public, or both.
All Spirit-filled Christians have the ability to speak in tongues. However, many do not operate in this gift because:
Either they have not yielded to it by faith (since every gift of God is received and activated by faith),
Or they do not want to yield to it because of misconceptions about tongues.
Such Christians are missing out on a most powerful tool for prayer, praise, worship, and warfare.
5. Can tongues be spoken in church?
Yes, it can be spoken in church:
If it is during a believers' meeting (where all present are believers), then it is perfectly fine for all to pray in (private) tongues as a group gathered in ministry to the Lord (worshiping God in Spirit (John 4:23-24)), or for intercession (Romans 8:26-27).
If a public tongue is used in the church, it must be interpreted for the benefit of those present (1 Corinthians 14:26-27). In this case, God will usually provide someone with the interpretation. Otherwise, it would be better simply to communicate in a known language so as not to cause concern to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:23).
6. Do I have to focus on God when I am speaking in tongues?
No, the beauty of speaking in tongues is that it is not spoiled by you or your mind (1 Corinthians 14:14). It is totally independent, and it is the Holy Spirit that speaks through your vocal chords to God. Therefore, you can speak/pray in tongues while your mind is elsewhere. For example, you can pray/speak in tongues whilst you are driving. Your mind and eyes will be focused on the road, but your spirit (by the Holy Spirit) will be focused on your prayer to God -- a prayer which is being perfectly composed by the Holy Spirit as it flows off your tongue and out of your mouth.
7. Can I stop and start my speaking in tongues?
Yes, you should be able to stop and start your speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit never takes that control from you because He is a gentleman. He will use you only as you allow Him to. If, however, you find that you cannot start/stop your speaking in tongues (in terms of the "act" of speaking), it is highly likely that you are speaking a demonic tongue (not one from the Holy Spirit) because a demon has taken control over your tongue.
Just to add, there has been the very rare occasion when a person's language had been switched from their mother tongue to the Holy Spirit tongue for many days. This is a sign that God is doing a supernatural work in them for a purpose. The person, however, still had control over when to stop and start their speaking, just that the language that came out was a Holy Spirit tongue. When God had finished His purpose, the person was able to speak their mother tongue again.
8. Is there a demonic tongue?
Unfortunately, yes there is! The devil loves to counterfeit whatever the Holy Spirit does. In that sense, the devil will only counterfeit what is real in the first place. So just because the devil counterfeits tongues, you should not be against speaking in tongues, because if you are, then you will miss out on the real tongues given by the Holy Spirit, which would be a big loss! Many Christians who do not want to speak in tongues miss out on the Holy Spirit's power.
9. How can I identify a demonic tongue?
The hallmark of a demonic tongue is that usually the person speaking it cannot control it (i.e. they cannot stop speaking when they wanted to, their tongue just kept on going). They may also be in a trance as they are speaking it, or they may appear tormented.
10. How do I help someone who is speaking a demonic tongue?
Pray for them immediately! In the Name of Jesus, command the evil spirit to stop talking. It is usually a Lying spirit or a spirit of Blasphemy that is resting on the tongue. Have the person renounce their sins and any generational sins/curses, cut the soul ties, then cast the demons out of that person. Once delivered (which may take some work), pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and when the person speaks in tongues again, it should be the Holy Spirit tongue.
11. Have tongues ceased?
No, they have not ceased. They are still in operation and will continue to be so until we see Jesus face to face. At that time, there will no longer be the need to speak in tongues, nor will there be any need to prophesy, heal the sick, cast out demons, etc. The only thing that will continue to go on is "Love" (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.