Archive for March 4th, 2015

Speaking in tongues

One of the new things I’ve experienced since joining my church at the beginning of the year is observing people speaking in tongues. It bears no resemblance to the rolling around on the floor screaming that you see in movies; all it is is that people who are praying out loud under their breaths subtly switch from speaking coherent words to speaking random syllables. It doesn’t seem to last very long, and then they switch back to normal speech. I had always been a little dubious about the validity of speaking in tongues; yes, it’s in the Bible, but some things in the Bible no longer occur in the modern era.  The only reason it was even on my radar is that one of the pastors I most admire highly recommends it; he makes it sound like something you CHOOSE to do, though, rather than something caused by an indwelling of God (or rather the Holy Spirit, supposedly), so… anyways, I’ve been trying to keep an open mind. When I first observed it in my fellow congregants, it just looked like people speaking random syllables, there was nothing that made it look God-related, so I had assumed that it was probably a tool they were using to try to receive the Holy Spirit rather than evidence of actual indwelling. Just in case there WAS something to it, though, keeping in mind that for most of my life I didn’t believe in God and look how THAT turned out, a few weeks ago I asked Him to let it happen to ME if it was real. I hadn’t thought about it since then, until:

I had prayer meeting last night, and one of the things we did was to stand in a tight group around the pastors, who were seated on chairs in the middle of the floor, lay hands either on them or on someone who was close enough to touch them, and pray intensely out loud for an anointing on them for an international ministry trip that they’re about to take; I was standing next to the senior pastor, with my fingertips on his shoulder. Everyone was praying in the normal manner; no one was speaking in tongues, and there was thus no thought in my mind about it, either in general or in reference to myself. I started out praying under my breath in complete sentences, but after a few minutes I gradually realized that I had somehow shifted to just saying, “Strength, Father,” over and over. I didn’t understand at first what was going on, I just had the vague thought that my mind had wandered, but when I tried to get back to complete sentences… it didn’t happen. My mouth and jaw were no longer responding, and they felt… almost like they were a little bit numb, but numbness isn’t exactly what it was, and there was a feeling of “resistance” around them, as if they were buried in wet cement that I’d have to exert muscular strength against in order to speak of my own volition. It wasn’t uncomfortable or upsetting as something like this would normally be, and it began to dawn on me that God had taken overt control of part of my body in the presence of others for the first time.

As in previous times when I’ve been “overtaken,” I think I could have retaken control if I’d really wanted to, but I naturally DON’T want to combat something God is doing. Once I became fully aware of the odd turn my prayer had taken, and what it had to mean, and before I had time to start analyzing WHY it was happening, it got even odder; the words, the syllables, that I was uttering were suddenly… jumbled. I still had no control over it, and again had that perception of not being able to do anything about it, although I might have been able to if I’d pushed hard enough. Because of the people praying loudly around me, I couldn’t hear myself clearly, but I kind of think that even in absolute silence I would not have been able to really focus on the sounds I was making to try to attempt to analyze them. It didn’t last long, I think it was under 2 minutes, and then someone started proclaiming VERY loudly, and I switched to listening and just saying “yes” when the other people did (I’m still learning how to fully participate in this group prayer thing, so I still follow the lead of others rather then acting at random).

At the time, I didn’t really think about what it all meant. It wasn’t until I was home alone later on that it occurred to me that this must have been what they mean by speaking in tongues. I shared what had happened with the members of my online prayer group, and those with experience in speaking in tongues said yes, that’s what it was. The people from my church that I have since spoken to have agreed.

So, it’s official:  Speaking in tongues is REAL, and I can do it. That’s TWO major spiritual things in just 3 days!! God is AMAZING!! I can’t wait to see what comes next…

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