My first experience with speaking in tongues has to be Foursquare Children’s Camp. Teenagers Camp was an annual retreat for teens for all the branches of the Church in Nigeria, I really cannot remember the schedule but I know different branches of churches in Lagos were together at the same time. It was always I time of learning of God’s word, fellowship, making new friends (Hi Seun) and hopefully a sort of Spiritual experience. Going to camp was a part of my childhood, from Children’s camp to Teenagers Camp to Youth Camp. It was always quite the experience.
This particular evening, I think it was a vigil – not so sure-, what I am sure of is that it was at night. There was some sort of a deliverance session and after the whole thing the preacher asked us to form a circle and asked who desired to speak in tongues and of course many of us raised our hands, with the way it goes they pray for the Holy Spirit to come down and then tell you to speak whatever comes to your mouth… I watched and waited for something to come to my mouth and nothing, the preacher kept cajoling “speak!, Speak, Speak” then I look around and i see people “catching the fire” and I’m wondering what is wrong with me, the cajoling goes on and I bow to the pressure and say something but I know deep down inside of me that it’s not real.
Fast forward some years later, still not speaking in tongues and everyone around you is making you feel incomplete because of it. They all said all I had to do was desire it and I did but I never understood why I just couldn’t speak in tongues.
A friend of mine started a fellowship, I decided to attend. In the course of the fellowship, he said something about anyone that has not received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues will do so before we leave. I didn’t indicate that I wanted to speak in tongues but some other guy did. With the same pattern, he prays the tells the person to open his mouth and speak… I could tell the guy was confused and of course he didn’t say anything but because my friend had said it as a matter of fact, he felt obligated to make sure that the guy spoke in tongues before we left there, my preacher friend paused and asked the guy of he was really willing to receive the gift and after about 15mins if pray-joling (cajoling prayers) the boy bowed to the pressure and spoke something, I could tell he just had to by looking at his face. Imagine, in a small room of like 6 people and you’re the only one they are praying for to be able to speak in tongues.
The journey of feeling left out and incomplete continued. I soon realised that I wasn’t the only one. We had a family friend, he would stop by our house to gist after work in the evenings. One day, we talked about speaking in tongues and he had spoken to a pastor who decided to pray with him for this gift, he invited my sisters and I. So, in this church building in Ikorodu, a group of 5 youths who wanted to speak in tongues came together with this pastor. He preached abit about it and we started to pray and the pattern was the same. The difference this time was that this pastor waited for a wind just like in Acts, I cannot speak for the other people there but for me it still felt like a prayjouling and bowing to pressure.
Which brought me to my knees.
One night, I had to pray for myself and ask God for this gift of speaking in tongues, I was at it for a long time and frankly I was convinced that I spoke in tongues that night but I still had doubts, I never wanted it to be about what I thought it should sound like but God’s spirit actually speaking through me. I still didn’t believe. One night, I had one of the scariest dreams I have ever had in my life and I woke up speaking in tongues and that has been the closest to the purest because I was sure it wasn’t me conjuring up anything in my mind. That was the first and last time it ever happened.
Do I speak in tongues now? I don’t know. I can’t say if I do and I don’t try to. I have learnt that what is done in most of the worship centers are not Biblical in that sense Read 1 corinthians 14 because I don’t see anyone interpreting or not more than 3 people speaking at the same time. And have you seen that this language that is not supposed to be spiritual now has spelling that everyone has adapted, I mean what is “Kabaya?” -_- Another major thing is the fact that there is absolutely no love for people that don’t speak in tongues, it is like you are missing something and the goal will now be to “get you there” as against letting God walk his journey with the individual.
If you are like me and you desire to speak in tongues but you are still not convinced about this method that goes on, please don’t worry. I know people make it look like when you speak in tongues for a number of hours at night that’s like the ticket to God’s heart and he will give you anything you have been desiring in your understanding, but know it is not about that because we have majored in minors. You can be a tongue speaking, demon slaying, praying-miracle-working giant and still miss the mark.
The point here is, Jesus is the standard not ticking some boxes to be the perfect christian. Remember, if you speak in tongues and you cannot interpret, it is a conversation between you and God, no one should even know it is happening because it is your spirit that gets edified, Also, according to Acts that is famously used to preach how to receive this gift, your ‘tongues’ must be in a language another person understand in order to preach the GOSPEL of JESUS to them and finally, like the Bible said, tongues and it’s interpretation is not for the believers.