One of the reasons that the gift of tongues is often opposed in our day is because we cannot easily see why it is necessary. For some people, it is a pride issue: “I must be able to understand it, or I will not accept it.” Yet, in 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul tells us, “The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God – for they are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
There are many things about God and the way He deals with man that we cannot understand with our natural mind, yet we accept them. Why should it be any different with the gift of tongues? Our natural minds do not understand how salvation works, how the Trinity exists, how God can have no beginning, or how resurrection of the dead into glorified bodies could possibly ever occur – yet these are basic tenets of the Christian faith that believers do not question.
Part of the problem is our natural-man desire to have control over ourselves and our circumstances. It is generally a struggle for us to yield ourselves into the hands of the Holy Spirit, if we are afraid that He will do something in our lives that will make us look foolish. We need to trust Him more than that. If we can get past the I-must-have-complete-control issue, and let God do what He wants in our lives, yielding to tongues does not have to be a big deal. Besides, speaking in tongues is not something that happens to us without us having any say in it. Once we have received the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, we use this gift of our own volition: we can begin when we choose, and end when we choose. People who already speak in tongues understand this, but I am explaining it for those who are not already baptized in the Holy Spirit.
So what good is praying in tongues? Let’s start with the personal benefits and move outward from ourselves. It has been proven scientifically that speaking in the prayer language affects the body. Brain waves measurably change as a person speaks in tongues. Chemicals that are beneficial to the body are released. When we pray in tongues, spirit-to-Spirit communion that bypasses the mind is going on. The Holy Spirit is life-giving. Touching Him from deep within brings life and health to our beings at every level – body, soul, and spirit. Paul comments in 1 Corinthians 14:2, “For he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God.” For the believer, encounters with Him are always positive in nature.
Next time we will talk about what praying in tongues does for the mind. This is powerful, and I hope you will be intrigued enough to come back for it.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual