A lot of persons who talk in tongues say it is a ‘gift’ from God that cannot be involuntary or controlled. I studied at an American charismatic evangelical church, and approximately a third of the congregants spoke in tongues intermittently when they prayed alone. An individual said: “You run out of things to pray for and you just need to pray, to let all these emotions run out of your head. So you pray in tongues. I do that quite often.” I think that speaking in tongues might be a more operative way to pray that talking normally. In the “kataphatic” prayer, a person has to fill their imagination with beliefs from the Scripture.
A definitive example is the 16th-century spiritual movements of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who referred to congregations to see “with the eye of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering how long it is and how wide, and whether it is level or goes through valleys and over hills.” We all know many people who have tried to meditate were unsuccessful because they were defeated by thoughts that refused to stay positioned — which is what a lot of accomplished physicians refer to as “monkey mind.” In a recent experimentation, I allocated to contributors, a free month of meditation, to imagine-rich prayer or sermons about the gospels. When people speak in tongues there is still a stigma attached. Philosopher James K. A. Smith in his book “Thinking in Tongues,” describes the “strange brew of academic alarm and snobbery” that sparkled across an associate’s face when he admitted that he was a Pentecostal (and was praying in tongues). It seemed as if it was time to change on from such prejudgment. God is still supernatural today and it is hope that we are not selling him short. In the New Testament speaking in tongues is the one of the most contentious spiritual gifts talked about and there are many genuine questions regarding the gift of the tongues which includes:
1. When persons speak in tongues, is it a gift from God or the devil?
2. When we hear someone speak in tongues are they making it up?
3. Is it a fringe gift to speak in tongues, which only certain people can receive?
4. Is the gift of tongues still roaming or did it die after the first century?
5. What exactly are persons saying when they speak in tongues?
It is possible that many people do not believe in the gift of tongues, or even had a terrible experience with it or an event. If it were not real, great men from biblical days would not speak in tongues, so I implore you to study the scriptures and understand it yourself. Sometimes we have to ask more than once to be granted this special gift from God too. Even if you want the gift, to speak in tongues, you should pray and ask God to grant it onto you. If you already have this gift within, you should use it every day. In Corinthians 4:18 the Apostle Paul bragged about speaking in tongues a lot. He said, "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you." The excess abuse of speaking in tongues is what is confusing most Christians and other non-Christians, and it must come to a halt!
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