Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit (is), because He makes intercession for the saints according to (the will of) God. Romans 8:26,27
Recently a personal matter was troubling me and I asked a friend to pray about it. “I will,” she said, “but first I’ll borrow some good advice I heard and tell you to hit it with tongues.” What a pal! Those were exactly the words I needed to hear. What a contrast my experience was to that of a young friend of mine, Suzann, who asked a Christian schoolmate if she had her tongues yet. At the time Suzann was a guileless, bubbly ten year old who never thought twice before speaking about the Lord and His kingdom. But that day she had the good discernment to back up when her friend looked at her quizzically and said, “What are you talking about?” “Oh, never mind,” Suzann answered quickly and dropped the subject.
Well, thank God for boldness and discernment, but what I’d like to know is at what point in history did praying with the Spirit of God become controversial among those of us who are born of that same Spirit? How is it that, outside “Charismatic” and “Pentecostal” circles, so many Christians either completely refuse to talk about spiritual language or speak of it in hushed, embarrassed whispers? As if speaking in tongues were unmentionable, more closely related to Victoria’s Secret than victory’s secret.
Beloved, these things ought not to be!
Paul was right. We mustn’t be ignorant of the devil’s devices. After all, Satan uses the same strategies time after time in different situations and for different purposes. For example, doesn’t he use all the hypocrites warming church pews to convince the unsaved there’s nothing to Christianity? You bet he does. Go out and talk to men or women of the world about their take on the church and you’re sure to get responses that include words like hypocrisy, money grubbing, cover-ups, and sex scandals. We who believe know these terrible evils exist, but we also understand they don’t define the Christian experience. Let God be true and every man a liar, if necessary. The devil has used a little leaven to leaven the whole lump. He always does. And a lot of people have gone to hell for want of the witness of a true believer.
He applies the same tactics to fight the baptism in the Holy Spirit followed by speaking in tongues. Sure, there have been circus sideshows. There have been arsenic drinkers and snake handlers. There have been wolves in sheep’s clothing. But their existence does not negate the reality of God’s gift of a language that men and devils cannot comprehend. A language of prayer that is pure and holy and powerful. The language of the Spirit. By my estimation, the very controversy that surrounds speaking in tongues tells me there is something to it. Otherwise, why all the fuss?
But after more than a quarter century of praying with the Spirit, of sensing the anointing rise up in my spirit when I prayed for a person or situation, of having my understanding opened to the thing God was doing in the spirit then watching it play out in the natural afterward, I don’t need more convincing. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a situation that’s bugging me. I think I’ll go hit it with tongues.