Mark 16:17-18 says, “And these signs shall follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
It is amazing that with such a clear and simple mission statement as Mark 16:17-18, that so few Christians have ever spoken with new tongues, cast out a devil, healed the sick … nor even tried to do so.
In this month’s War Story I share how the Holy Spirit taught me over a period of six years, precept upon precept, line upon line, how to experience the power of God in my life. In my case the Holy Spirit’s work was cut out for Him, in that I attended a mainline church at the time, and my Pastor never spoke on the commands that Jesus gave the church in Mark 16:17-18. But after I was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit in my living room as a result of reading a book, I had an insatiable desire to learn all I could about faith, and how I could receive the promises that Jesus spoke about in the scriptures.
But I was not happy just hearing and reading about these promises, I wanted to see them manifest in my life. I and my wife, Barbara, made it our habit to read and study spiritual things for several hours per day, at least five days a week. For years we attended two church services on Sunday, one in our mainline Christian church and the second in a Pentecostal Church that often featured well-known Charismatic speakers. In addition, Barbara and I held a Bible study group in our home, in which we studied a series of teaching books. One of the first such books was Kenneth Hagin’s “Authority of the Believer”. (It is now called The Believer’s Authority.)
Soon I began to receive invitations to speak in local FGBMFI Chapters. As I studied more, the word of God became established in my heart and I began to pray for people to become baptized in the Holy Spirit and to be healed.
During this time Barbara and I received a series of encouraging prophecies promising that God was going to use us heal the sick, cast out devils, and move in the gifts of the Spirit. Rather than dismiss these prophesies as some do, we embraced them and prayed for the Spirit of God to fulfill them in our lives.
Then in a Sunday evening church service on June 20th, 1982, a prophetic man from New Zealand by the name of Doug Maskell anointed Barbara and I with oil, and prophesied that God would move in our lives in a healing and supernatural ministry. I told the Lord that if he would send me the invitations to speak, that I would accept them and believe him for miracles. Three days later I received a telephone call from an FGBMFI Chapter President in Trail, British Columbia. He invited me to speak in a six-chapter circuit in Eastern British Columbia starting Monday, October 4th and running through Saturday October 9th, 1982. I was excited; this was the opportunity that I had been praying for.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the sameSpirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 7-11
Many Christians are trying to fight their spiritual battles without the gifts of the Spirit operating in their lives. And the gifts are not operating in their lives because they are pursuing them.
One of the most powerful gifts that God has given to the believer is the gift of tongues. God may, or he may not move on you to use of the gift of tongues in a public church service, but He always wants you to pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit, (praying in tongues) is the most powerful way to pray.
Speaking in tongues is the first evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in the believer. It is the start of our walk in the Spirit. I have found in my own life that the more I pray and worship God in tongues the more manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit I experience in my life.
Speaking in tongues is the doorway into the rest of the gifts of the Spirit. It is the initial sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The writer of the book of Jude tells us that we build ourselves up in our most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude verse 20).
The apostle Paul wrote a great deal on the subject of tongues. Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Cor. 14:8).
It is the way that we edify ourselves, spiritually (see 1 Cor. 14:4). In today’s vernacular we would say we “give our spirit a battery charge when we pray in tongues. It is the way we keep our spirit charged up.
In Romans 8:26 the apostle Paul says: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning’s 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.”
One of the ways that we can pray according to the will of God is to pray in the spirit (pray in tongues). The apostle Paul in Romans 8:26 quoted above says the Spirit makes intercession for us according to the will of God. At times our spirit is so distressed that one can only groan and cry in inarticulate speech that words cannot express, it is an extension of our prayer language. My personal experience is that often the only way that I can pray about a problem, is in my personal prayer language. You simply cannot express the anguish you sense in your spirit with English words. I simply say Lord I don’t know how to pray, so I ask you to take a hold with me in to pray your perfect will for this situation and then I begin to pray in the spirit.
There was a fifteen year period in my life when I got out of bed in the middle of the night, went into another room in our home and prayed mostly in the Spirit (in tongues) for an hour or more each night.
When we pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit prays through us for problems that we don’t even know exist. The Holy Spirit who knows all things can lead our spirit to pray for problems in our life, or our family’s lives that we are not even aware of in the natural world. But praying in tongues when we don’t know what we are praying for requires faith.
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America