As a life-long member of the evangelical church, many people asked me about the meaning behind speaking in tongues. So for those wondering, I did some research, and here it comes!
So, why do Evangelicals speak in tongues? Speaking in angelic tongues (also known as glossolalia) is considered a divine language which comes from God itself. Therefore, it is described as a spiritual gift in 1 Corinthians 12–14 and a way to experience God for Evangelicals.
However, that’s not the only answer to this question. It is a very personal and intimate experience for every person. That’s why I decided to ask other members of my church and see what speaking in tongues means to them.
What Speaking In Tongues Means To Evangelicals?
70% of the evangelical church members said they speak in tongues because it helps to let go of all the emotions, even when the prayer itself is done. And after they shared this with me, I started to notice the difference. Almost everyone who regularly kept doing it seemed genuinely happier. They also told me that by the end of the practice, they usually felt lighter, freer, and more focused. As one of my friends said: “When you run out of things to pray for but still need to pray, you speak in tongues to let all these emotions run out of your head and body.”
20% said it is a gift from God which can’t be controlled. It is a blessing which comes to those who can dedicate themselves to God. As some of the members described: “It just naturally flows through your body, and there’s no way to control it.”
For the other 10%, glossolalia is the only language the demons can’t understand. It is a protection, a guarantee no evil could ever know what they were praying about.
What Are The Origins Of Glossolalia And What Does the Bible Say About It?
Now you might be interested in where speaking in tongues comes from, and this is a fascinating topic to discuss as well!
The Bible mentions that the Holy Spirit descended to the followers of Jesus Christ and shared his force of such power that they spoke in strange tongues and were able to handle serpents.
Then, Paul wrote that anyone speaking in tongues speaks an unfathomable language, in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. As he said, “no one understands him; however in his spirit, he speaks mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 14:2.
The majority of the text from the Bible about speaking in tongues comes from Paul to the Corinthian church. It might be because many of them had this gift, but had hard times understanding what to do with it.
Paul explained to them its purpose by writing: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-10.
How To Make Speaking In Tongues Easier?
I am aware that speaking in tongues is not that easy for everyone. Many people find themselves struggling as they can’t let their mind flow freely. Moreover, I experienced these struggles myself. That’s why I want to tell you about the tips I found very useful and, hopefully, make the process easier for you.
1. Avoid All The Distractions
Stressing this one is for sure not enough. I can’t tell you how important it is to have a noise-free space to connect with God, because the distractions can kill the ability to start receiving this gift.
Now distractions come in many forms. It can be your children running around the house, the sound of the TV, multi-tasking, or even the sound of your voice.
That’s why when you start to pray in tongues, you need to find a quiet place where you can be alone for at least an hour. For me, it was in the park near my work. I found the least crowded place and sat down under the shades of the tree. Still, as I started to pray in tongues, I found the sound of my voice extremely distracting, so I put my headphones on and turned on gospel music.
If it is easier for you, you can even start by singing along with the music, and then let your prayer flow.
If you’re anything like me, you also struggled with the words. For several years I couldn’t say more than the same couple of sounds that were stuck in my head. So, I experimented a bit and found out this blockage was purely physical!
In order to get through this block, start by saying out loud the basic sounds. For example, say ‘be’ and then replace the first letter by the next one (it’s like going through the alphabet): ce, de, fe, etc. When you’re done, the feeling of new sounds ungluing will come to you. However, don’t forget this technique still needs much practice, so don’t give up if your first praying in tongues after the practice won’t be very successful.
However, there’s a possibility the blockage can be spiritual. When I started speaking in tongues, the memories of my sinful deeds began to come out from the outer reaches of my mind.
The unbelievable amount of shame I felt almost stopped me from speaking in tongues. However, this experience should be quite the opposite of the blockage, as glossolalia is a tool to ask for forgiveness and break the shameful chains. So keep doing what you’re doing and edify yourself!
3. Ask For More Faith
When I began speaking in tongues, I knew there was a reason why I couldn’t pray with the Holy Spirit and let Him speak through me. Because the gifts are only given to those who can handle them, I decided to start speaking in tongues by repeating the words “Lord, please give me more faith.”
Everyone needs God’s strength to pray in tongues to keep moving, so don’t be afraid to ask Him for help.
4. Don’t Overthink
Doubts ward off the faith, so don’t get too focused on the details. The whole process should only help you give your tongue to God to build up your spirit. There are no special techniques, the sounds you produce are not understandable by people, so no one knows what you’re praying about. There’s just no point in worrying, so calm yourself down and keep going!
Another thing is that if some sounds just don’t come out of your mouth while you pray in tongues, don’t force them. As for me, sounds like “xe” or “sh” are impossible to pronounce while speaking in tongues, and I don’t make myself pronounce them. I let my pray flow naturally.
But I know that every sound seems forced for the beginners (I’ve been there myself). However, if you keep practicing over and over again for at least a couple of days, it’ll become the most natural thing to you, I promise. To get where I am today, I’ve prayed for ten hours straight only taking breaks to eat some food. By the end of it, a thought “I’m finally doing it” hit me, and that’s how I knew.
At that moment, everything has changed as there was nothing to worry about anymore. For anyone out there trying to understand the meaning behind speaking in tongues, its effects on people, and some tips to get started, here it is! I hope you enjoyed this article, and it was beneficial for you.
If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.