The Christian Broadcasting Network published an article on comments actor Morgan Freeman recently made on his encounter with the Gift of Tongues at Newlife Pentecostal Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It was part of a documentary series Freeman is doing called “The Story of God.” In a recent episode he describes this charismatic gift as “powerful.”
“All around me people have been swept up by an invisible force. And now they speak what they believe is the language of Heaven. I can see on their faces that they are genuinely somewhere else.
“Now, whatever it is, they felt that power; they are not the same. Experience changes them, how they see themselves, how they relate to others, how they change their lives.
“That was a powerful experience. I could feel the energy in that space. Normal people suddenly transformed by some power and then just suddenly return to normal. But Pentecostals believe they are bringing heaven down to earth.”
These are interesting statements as the experience seems to have genuinely impacted Freeman.
The Gift of Tongues, also called glossolalia, is a manifestation of the in-filling of the Holy Spirit available to Christians. It is described as an ecstatic experience where under the power of the Holy Spirit a person speaks in another language (Acts 2:4).
Calling Tongues the “language of God” very much fits the description the Apostle Paul gives this gift in his teaching on the subject found in the book of Corinthians.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1, Paul describes the language as of “men or angels” meaning tongues can be a discernible human language as was displayed on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) or it can be the language of Angels.
I think when the latter (Angelic language) is expressed, it becomes an intimate communication of the believer with God, which leads to one of its main purposes — prayer.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. (1 Corinthians 14:14-15 NASV)
When we allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us in this way, we do not know what He is praying.
Yet Paul encourages us to pray in the Spirit at all times. In other words, the Gift of Tongues should be an important part of your prayer life.
18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18 NASV)
The reason is as we express this gift, the Holy Spirit is able to pray the will of God in the situation:
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; (Romans 8:26 NASV)
This is a critical ingredient to answered prayer.
The second thing Freeman noted is the impact Glossolalia had on people at the church.
“They are not the same. Experience changes them,” said Freeman.
This transformation is a spinoff benefit of Speaking in Tongues. Jude writes that this specific gift builds up a person’s faith and is the only gift that personally benefits the person using it as the Holy Spirit uses the other gifts to help others:
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 20 NASV)
This happens because as we use this gift, it releases God in our life — literally allowing the Holy Spirit to flow in and through us.
If you are uncertain what to pray and feel weak in your faith — the Holy Spirit’s antidote is the Gift of Tongues.
We need to pray in Tongues more, not less.