J. Lee Grady on Why Is the Gift of Speaking in Tongues So Awkward?

Churches across the world will commemorate the day of Pentecost this next Sunday, whether they meet online or in their buildings. Most will celebrate the need for the Holy Spirit’s power, and they might read Acts 2:1-4, which tells how the Spirit’s flame rested on all the disciples who prayed in the upper room that day.

But when they read verse 4 (NASB)—”And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance”—some people will shift in their seats or clear their throats. This aspect of Pentecost makes people uncomfortable. We don’t know what to do or say about tongues. It’s just too weird for most people.

It was awkward for me too, when I first heard about it. I’d never met a Pentecostal. Speaking in tongues wasn’t part of my church tradition, and I had never heard anyone do it. In fact, the first person I heard speak in tongues was myself, when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1976!

Since then, I have prayed for countless people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I don’t force them to speak in tongues. I just warn them that it might happen, since it happened in Acts 2.

Several years ago, when I was teaching at a ministry school, a 22-year-old guy from Maryland asked if I could pray with him. He had heard me share how I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at age 18, and he wanted the same experience.

This young man, Eric, understood that he already had the Holy Spirit living inside of him. But he knew that Jesus offers us more. He knew the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second experience in which the fullness of God’s divine power anoints us for ministry.

I explained to Eric that speaking in tongues makes no sense in the natural. It actually sounds like gibberish, yet the Bible says praying in the Spirit strengthens us profoundly (see 1 Cor. 14:2, 4). I laid hands on Eric and asked Jesus to fill him with divine power and to release the Holy Spirit’s language as a manifestation of the overflow.

Nothing dramatic happened at that moment, but I told Eric to remain expectant. I’ve learned that oftentimes, the release of the Spirit comes more easily when people are alone and not distracted by people standing around. I encouraged him to go home and pray some more.

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SOURCE: Charisma News