How to Speak in Tongues

Discover how to speak in tongues and tap into the transformative work of the Holy Spirit, leading to spiritual growth, divine encounters, and service in the Kingdom of God.

In this article, we'll explore practical steps to begin speaking in unknown languages inspired by God, while addressing common concerns. We'll also touch on the spiritual power that comes from embracing this unique gift of the Holy Spirit.

You Can Speak in Tongues

By Don Bell | Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Concept Photo for How to Speak in TonguesHow to Speak in Tongues
(Source: © Milosz/

Rest assured, the gift of tongues is available for every believer. When you're baptized with the Holy Spirit, you receive the fullness of the Spirit complete with ALL His gifts waiting to be activated. You don't just receive part of the Holy Spirit; He descends in His fullness.

The simple reason that some believers don't speak in other tongues is that they have chosen not to activate the gift. Fears, doubts, misconceptions, false pride, and the wrong teaching can prevent believers from embracing the gift of speaking in tongues.

As well, we all have reasons for not wanting to do something, and God never forces His gifts upon anyone. He respects our freewill and allows us to make our own choices. Ask for His help in making the right choices.

When a Gift Is Not Truly Received

To illustrate the importance of activating the gift of tongues, or any gift of the Holy Spirit, imagine receiving a valuable gift such as a genuine Rolex watch. If you choose to leave the gift unwrapped and unused on a closet shelf, hidden from sight, you have the gift, but you have not truly received it.

However, suppose you unwrap the gift and wear the Rolex on your wrist. Now, it's plain to see that you've received it, and by activating it, you can use it to tell others the time of day.

In a similar way, when believers are baptized in the Holy Spirit, they receive the gift of tongues, along with the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Choosing to activate these gifts is crucial to fully receiving them, benefiting from them, and serving others.

How to Speak in Tongues

Speaking in tongues can be seen as mysterious or intimidating, but it is actually meant to be a normal expression of the Holy Spirit's work within believers.

Sorry to break the news, but there are no step-by-step lessons on how to speak in tongues. Like other gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is a supernatural ability that can only be experienced and not taught. Teaching can only bring an awareness of the gift and encourage its proper use.

First, you do not have to wait for the Holy Spirit to start speaking in tongues. The original followers of Christ, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, waited in obedience to the Lord's command. However, once the Holy Spirit had been poured out and utterance had been given on the Day of Pentecost, there is no evidence in Scripture that suggests anyone needed to wait again.

You can be filled with the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues anywhere, even in the privacy of their own home. There's no need for complex rituals, specific postures, or special prayer meetings.

While some believers have received the gift of tongues through the laying on of hands, most have not. Receiving this gift does not require shaking or babbling syllables in a highly emotional state.

The key to speaking in an unknown language is to simply open your mouth, move your tongue, and make the sounds of speech. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in producing the syllables and words. It's as simple as that.

Strangeness and Varieties of Tongues

Speaking in tongues is a supernatural ability that surpasses natural speech, and your first attempts may seem unusual and unfamiliar. Just like natural foreign languages, tongues can involve distinct sounds and syllables, sometimes leaving you wondering whether you are speaking a language at all.

It's essential to remember that heavenly languages are strange and unknown to us. We're so accustomed to our own language that we forget how foreign languages can sound so strange.

Furthermore, you might worry about repetitive words in your spiritual tongue. However, even in natural languages, certain words can sound alike but hold different meanings. Adding a slight inflection can completely alter a word or phrase's significance.

If you find your unknown tongue challenging or too strange, take a step of faith and start speaking in another tongue, as there are many.

Speak With Confidence and Control

When speaking in tongues, it is important to maintain your natural speaking tone and volume. You can add expression to your voice, but avoid going too far and sounding over emotional, shrill, or strange. Remember, you are always in control of your voice.

While attending an out-of-town church conference, I witnessed a man delivering a lengthy message in tongues. His speaking was exaggerated, often high-pitched and approaching falsetto. It was peculiar, to say the least, resulting in muffled comments and not a few smiles and giggles among the congregation.

No interpretation of the tongue was forthcoming, nor was it necessary. This was not a genuine tongue inspired by the Holy Spirit. Instead, it was an attempt made in the flesh. Someone later informed me that they had overheard the man practicing his "tongue" in a hallway prior to the session.

The Holy Spirit does not need us to fabricate the words when speaking in tongues. He will give us the applicable message. Additionally, while tongues may sound unfamiliar, they should not come across as weird or comical, bringing reproach on the Holy Spirit.

Trust the Holy Spirit to provide you with the words, but also understand that He will not force you to speak. You have complete control over your voice.

Also, try not to put pressure on yourself or allow others to pressure you. While some believers may have good intentions, they can be too forceful in trying to make something happen. We should never force the gifts of the Spirit on others, as this can turn people off. Sometimes believers try to help the Holy Spirit do His job, but if someone does not want a gift, it is best to respect their wishes and leave it with God.

Again, to begin speaking in tongues, simply open your mouth, move your tongue, and start making the sounds of speech. Use your normal tone of voice and give expression to the sounds.

Have faith that the Holy Spirit will provide you with the necessary sounds and syllables. The unknown language will be formed on your tongue. Avoid trying to think up sounds, and instead, let the sounds naturally flow from your mouth as you speak.

Some suggest first repeating a single word or sound, but this is generally not helpful and can lead to getting stuck with a repetitive sound, mistakenly thinking it is an unknown tongue.

Initially, you might only speak a few words in tongues, but with practice, it will become easier and fluent, and you'll be able to pray in the Spirit for longer periods of time.

Starting to speak in tongues may be more challenging for some believers than for others, so don't be discouraged. It's not uncommon for some people to make several attempts before becoming fluent, and some may prefer to practice alone out of earshot of others when first learning how to speak in tongues.

Activate the Gift of Tongues

Ultimately, we have the choice to activate the gift of speaking in tongues or not. The supernatural abilities given to us by the Holy Spirit are powerful tools that benefit our spiritual growth and equip us for serving others.

By speaking in tongues, we can edify ourselves and increase our faith. We can also edify other believers and contribute to their spiritual growth when we're obedient to interpret the spoken tongue. Tongues can help us fulfill our calling in the Body of Christ and advance the Kingdom of God.

This completes the 7-part series of articles on The Gift of Speaking in Tongues.

Don Bell of Kingdom Anointing

By Don Bell, follower of the Christ.

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