If you have been reading my blog you realize that I am doing research into the gifts in preparation for a course I will be teaching on the gifts at my church. Today I was praying to God because I was frustrated by all these occultist that practice so hard to get demonic power and I was saying “Occultists practice being possessed by demons. It is how they get their power. How do we, as Christians, practice the true?” (The devil only mimics God in a twisted, fallen way. So there is always the true, right way of doing what the devil is trying to twist).
Almost before I could finish my prayer I suddenly, “involuntarily”, spoke in tongues. I say “involuntarily” as my point in the prayer was dedication and surrender to God, to allowing him to lay hold of me and fill me with his presence and power. So it was not really involuntarily, just unexpected 🙂
So for the next 15-20 minutes I prayed in tongues. As I did so, there was a couple of things that I recognized happening to me and within me:
- There was this growing feeling of “energy” or power emanating from my belly button area. You might object and say “That sounds new age” but there are a couple things to realize:
- Holy Spirit lives within us, in our spirit. And the commonly held belief is that our spirit is centered in our belly. I cannot give you scripture for it, but that’s what we find. At the very least, God uses language that we understand and I believe my spirit to be centered or connected to my physical being at my belly button.
- Devil only copycats God. So God did it first, and perfectly. So I make no apology for taking back what the devil tried to steal!!
So what was this “energy”. There area couple things that come to mind. First is what Todd Bentley said about Dunamis power, the power to perform miracles, is a result of being “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:45-49). It is the manifestation of the kingdom and authority (exousia ἐξουσία, authority and/or influence) of Jesus (His dunamis demonstrates his exousia, God cannot do what he does not have authority to do). Jesus said “all authority (exousia) have been given to me, so go and demonstrate it through healings, deliverances, and raising the dead (dunamis)” (Adam paraphrase of Matt 28:18-20).
Secondly, Holy Spirit may come like a dove, but do not confuse gentleness with a lack of power. Holy Spirit is as much creator of the whole universe as God the Father and Son are. In fact Genesis 1 says he was the one hovering over creation, effecting the creation. The very power of God lives inside of you, and when you pray in tongues, you are saying “Holy Spirit, take control of me, work through me, establish the exousia of Jesus in me”. So it is no wonder that I felt power, the power of Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, Holy Spirit came in the form of fire, alighting on those in the upper room, releasing dunamis power, resulting in the speaking in tongues. Or maybe it was that the dunamis power was released through the praying in tongues. (Kind of the chicken and egg problem, the obvious thing is that power came upon them). The outworking of this encounter was that 3000 people entered into the kingdom of God, they came under the exousia of Jesus. Dunamis establishes the exousia of Jesus.
So it doesn’t matter if tongues is a result of dunamis or is the means by which dunamis is released, the end result should always be that the exousia of Jesus increases in our life. As I prayed in tongues, I found some sin structures in my life weakening (Yes, there are still areas of doubt, fear, and struggles in my life. I do not think it is worth trying to hide that we are human. The key is that we continue to strive for the perfection of Jesus, by surrendering TO Jesus). Praying in tongues releases dunamis that affects change, resulting in the increase of the exousia of Jesus in our lives.
- As a result of praying in tongues I was refreshed. There is this kind of feeling that comes over me after I pray in tongues like I just took a dip in a cool pond of still water, whose waters are so pure, so clear, so refreshing. It brings peace, strength, and focus to pray in tongues. You can come away from an extended time of praying in tongues with a sense that Jesus is your Lord, he is supreme, that he is ruling over all. Again, dunamis destroys the works of the devil (fear, uncertainty, doubt, sin, sickness, bondage, etc) showing that Jesus truly does have all exousia (authority).
There was a time several years ago, in which I prayed in tongues for 30 minutes straight. When I was done I layed down, feeling so peaceful and refreshed. Suddenly! (insert pregnant pause…) God spoke. He said one sentence, it was very short (what precisely he said I have lost, but not the effect), and set me free of 15 years of bondage, fear, and mental torture. If I had not prayed in tongues that day, would I still have heard him? Probably, eventually…
Again, Tongues released Dunamis, which established Exousia. The kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom 14:17) and anytime we are not experiencing these things, we are not living fully in the kingdom of Jesus. Tongues can help correct that.
So if you pray in tongues, do so regularily and eagerly and see the kingdom of Jesus established in and through you. If you do not pray in tongues, ask God for the gift. If you do not have the gift of tongues (and, even after asking for it, you do not get it) then do not think yourself less or do not think that God is rejecting you or denying you this gift. Love is the most important mark of the kingdom of God (1 Cor 13 says the most excellent way to operate in the gifts is love) and if you seek to live in love, then you are closer to God than you realize and God has gifted you with something far greater than tongues. When you demonstrate love, you are more like God than someone who speaks in tongues and goes away unchanged. (So the goal of praying in tongues should be to be changed by the dunamis and exousia of Jesus, resulting in the true manifestation of God’s kingdom: love).