1 Cor. 14:2,4,5 “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. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself… I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…”
I was sitting in my hotel room after a long day of working on the airplane. As a flight attendant, I spent two or three nights a week in a hotel room after working flights to different cities all day. For me it was a great place to have absolute quiet time studying the Word of God. I was a young believer having accepted the Lord less than a year earlier. At 24 years old and now just finally discovering the Bible after hungering to know the Lord all my life, I felt like a man that hadn’t eaten in days and was afraid I might not get my next meal. I devoured the Word of God. I wanted to know God. I felt like I had been robbed not knowing Him all my life. If people asked me what I did the year I was 24 years old I would say, “I read the Bible.” It seemed like that was all I could or wanted to do.
This night I was desiring to learn more about something I had recently heard about – the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was mentioned at church and I had heard some people occasionally talk in what they called “tongues.” It intrigued me but it never bothered me. Someone had given me a book about this subject and it just felt so awesome to learn about another expression of God’s love. God out of His love giving supernatural gifts to men? Wow!
I read all the scriptures in the books of Acts about how His disciples and different followers spoke in tongues. It was exciting and fascinating. Then I read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 over and over and over again. I asked the Lord repeatedly; please help me to understand what I am reading. I finally parked on a couple of verses that made me hungry for this gift of tongues. In Acts 1:5 & 8 Jesus said, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” …But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I knew I needed God’s power in my life. I wanted to be bolder about sharing my new found love of Jesus. I remember sitting in an airport break room where there was about 20 flight attendants relaxing and waiting for their next flight. I was sitting amongst them reading the newspaper when this Christian flight attendant walked in. She saw me and knew I had become a Christian. As she walked into the room she said in a loud voice, “Tim, praise God, it’s so good to see you. Isn’t Jesus good! I was praying that I would run into you and God has answered my prayer! Praise the Lord!”
Everyone looked up at her and then eyed me. I felt cowardly and almost ashamed at how vocal she was. The truth was, this woman was one of the kindest, finest woman I had ever met and to her talking about the Lord and letting praise to God come from her mouth was as natural as swearing or cursing is to others. I was so mad at myself that I could feel ashamed, even for a minute. I prayed to the Lord, “Please help me to change!” Suddenly I remembered that I had been hearing about that help. The gifts of the Spirit – one of those being tongues.
Anyway, as I was in my room that night, and had spent time reading through all the scriptures, I prayed, “Lord I want this gift and I know you want me to have it. Please baptize me with your Holy Spirit.” I had just read, Luke 11:11-13. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I knew I now needed to exercise my faith. I purposed to lift my voice to Him but not in English. Suddenly I remembered I had to open my mouth and pray a prayer of faith when I accepted the Lord into my heart. I wasn’t sure of all that meant at the time then and I wasn’t sure of all that this meant now. I just knew I was going to take another step of faith. I had the thought. “God gave Adam a language as a man, He gave languages at the tower of Babel when their heart wasn’t even right, I know He can and will give me one now!” I chose to began to speak something and make some kind of utterance. Sounds and unfamiliar words started to come. It seemed unusual. My brain was like a curious cat. “What are those words?” It’s just that the words seemed to becoming up from my belly instead of down from my head. As I purposed to speak out, a language began to flow.
I stopped for a bit. I was trembling. I thought, “That was just me doing that.” I tried again and this language flowed from my mouth. I must have prayed speaking words or sounds that were unfamiliar to me for an hour. It seemed powerful. But, just like it says in Mark 4:15, “… Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” I let my head talk me out of this and didn’t pray in this language again.
Then a couple of months later, I was at this conference where they asked anyone who wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to come forward. I ran up there so fast I must have looked like I was trying to win a race. As this minister laid his hand on my head and prayed for me, this language just flowed from my lips. Then it dawned on me. It was the same language I heard myself speak in the hotel room. I realized then that the devil had talked me out of what God had given me then. I was speaking in tongues!
That was the new beginning for me. The Apostle Paul was one of the most powerful ministers of the gospel to ever live on this earth and he said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” (1 Cor 14:18.) It was my desire to be used of God to help others. You see, I was the person that had been forgiven more than most and have so much to be thankful for. I don’t know how else to better please God than to help others be freed from Satan’s grip and come to know of God’s awesome love and promise toward them.
All the gifts are important and I know I have only been focusing on one of them. To many this is a “scary subject” wrapped in controversy. Yet is just seems so unfair to me when people are cheated from something so precious from God that He paid such a great price to give. Jesus never spoke in tongues. He didn’t need to. He never sinned. He said, “…I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. John 8:28.
Jesus’ communication and obedience to the Father was perfect. Ours is not. He gave us a language to help us communicate and that would allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us for those things that we don’t know how to pray for. Words that couldn’t be touched by the unbelief that attacks our minds when we know what we are praying. I need this help and I praise the Lord He has made it available to me. I pray in tongues all the time!
Don’t wait for God to hit you on the head so that this language flows from you. Pray and ask for this gift. Begin to speak by faith. Let the words given by Him come. Of course it will feel unusual. You’ve not done it before and it comes from Heaven. Just do it and thank God for it. It will change your life! “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. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself… I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…”
This is the last writing on this subject for now…
If you would like a free book to help you learn more about the gift of tongues, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org giving them your name and address and ask for the book Water, Wind, and Fire. I hope it will be of great blessing to you. I am confident it will help you with questions you may have.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.