Before He ascended into heaven, the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the “promise of the Father.” He said,
“…for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5
This event occurred several weeks later on the day of Pentecost:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4
That same day, the apostle Peter preached to the crowd who witnessed this outpouring,
“Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord will call.” Acts 2:38-39
This promise is for all believers, even today! Now it’s true that every Christian has the Holy Spirit residing within them from the moment they are born again. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is usually a separate experience, when God gives a believer a greater manifestation of His presence and supernatural power. And just as in Acts, the Holy Spirit will enable you to “speak in other tongues,” that is, in a language that you have never learned and do not understand.
There are several benefits to speaking or praying in tongues, including:
Boldness and power in witnessing. Acts 1:8; Acts 4:31
Self-edification. 1 Corinthians 14:4
Edification of a church body. 1 Corinthians 14:26-27
Help in intercession. Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 14:14
A means of worship. 1 Corinthians 14:17
Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not difficult. You can do it anywhere, in a church service or in your own home. It would be good first to read the first two chapters of the book of Acts and the other verses about the use of tongues. When you are ready, spend a little time worshiping and praising God in your native language, and then pray:
Father in heaven, I come to you in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. I praise and thank you for saving me and for promising to baptize me in your Holy Spirit. I want this wonderful gift of power in my life, and I ask you to baptize me now. Thank You that You will do it, and by faith I receive it. Amen.
Now simply open your mouth and begin to speak, and the Holy Spirit will meet you there. He will give you new words to say which may sound odd, but foreign languages usually do. Just speak them out. The words may not flow smoothly at first, yet do not stop. With practice, you will become more fluent.
Understand that you do not lose control of yourself when you speak in tongues (tongues are not ecstatic utterance). You decide when you start, when you stop, how loud you are, whether you speak or sing, etc. The only thing you do not control are the actual words that you say. You need not be afraid that the Holy Spirit will make you do something foolish or embarrassing.
Last, be assured that you will not receive something other than the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus once told his disciples,
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13
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