The Hidden Power Of Speaking in Tongues
by Mahesh Chavda
The Language of Glory
I believe in the power of speaking in tongues. I believe because I have
witnessed its power in my own experience as well as in the experiences of
others. One night very late I began praying in tongues and prayed
aggressively for nearly three hours. Although I did not know what I was
praying for, I sensed that I was praying through to victory for something
very important. I wasn't afraid or particularly in distress, just very
intent to faithfully pray with the Lord until He released me.
When the burden lifted I got up and left my office to go to bed. Going down
the hall I noticed the light was still on in my daughter Anna's room, where
she was studying for college semester finals. I stuck my head in to say good
night and felt impressed to ask Anna not to drive my car to school that day.
'Take your mother's Jeep,' I insisted. Anna normally drove my car to class
in the mornings. I knew of no reason for my request other than the deep and
distinct impression I felt. I learned long ago to pay attention to these
promptings of the Holy Spirit. After I repeated my request a couple of times
Anna finally rolled her eyes at me and said, 'Okay, Dad, I promise!'
A few hours later Anna was on her way to her class. That particular morning
she decided to take a route she was not accustomed to. An early rain had
left the road surfaces slippery. Blinded by the morning sun in her eyes,
Anna lost control of the vehicle as she unexpectedly came upon a hairpin
curve. The Jeep skidded off the road and slammed head-on into a tree at
approximately 35 mph, pinning Anna inside. The vehicle was totaled.
By the time Bonnie and I were notified and arrived on the scene, an
emergency rescue team was extracting Anna from the Jeep on a stretcher. Fire
police, and emergency rescue personnel were everywhere. One of them told
Bonnie, 'I've worked nearly 30 calls like this, and this is the first time
the driver survived.' We heard similar stories from other rescue personnel
who were present. In their experience, accidents of this type almost always
resulted in massive injuries or death. What we heard over and over that
morning from officials on the scene were the words, 'It's a miracle your
daughter is alive.'
After the ambulance left for the hospital, one of the police officers
present pointed again at the demolished Jeep. 'Those airbags saved her life,
he said. Bonnie and I knew also that God and His angels had been on
assignment. My car-the one Anna normally drove to class-was not equipped
with airbags. Had she been driving my car that morning, the outcome might
have been altogether different. As it was, Anna suffered bad breaks in both
legs, but fully recovered with no permanent ill effects from her injuries.
That morning I understood why I had been so burdened in prayer just hours
before. The Holy Spirit knew of the danger ahead of time and prompted me to
pray in tongues until the burden lifted. One alert watchman can save an
entire house. The thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy will pass by a
house where the watch lamps are brightly burning.
Spiritual Power Is for Bearing Witness to Jesus
The last thing the risen Jesus said to His followers before He ascended to
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you
shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Jesus' words contain two imperatives for His disciples: 'You shall receive
power,'and 'you shall be witnesses to Me.'These two 'you shalls' go together
either one is meaningless without the other. A witness to Jesus that has no
spiritual power accomplishes nothing, and spiritual power that does not
witness to Jesus has no purpose. Every spiritual gift and other endowment of
the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, is bestowed on believers for the
ultimate purpose of equipping and enabling us to bear witness, both
individually and corporately, to the saving work of Jesus Christ through His
death on the cross and His bodily resurrection. Whenever we begin to focus
on spiritual gifts for their own sake, whether tongues or anything else, we
are headed for trouble. As Christians we are always in danger of slipping
into one or the other of two extremes, both equally dangerous. Placing too
little emphasis on the gifts and presence of the Holy Spirit robs us of
power, while placing too much robs us of vision and direction because it
takes our eyes off Jesus.
Before He went back to Heaven, Jesus charged His followers with a clear and
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
Our marching orders are to make disciples in every nation and teach them to
obey Jesus. To enable us to carry out His command, Jesus promised to be
present with us always, and His presence always brings His power. Jesus'
presence with us enables us to proclaim the gospel with power and see lives
transformed by His Spirit.
Mark records the same commission in slightly different form, but the
implications are the same:
And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not
believe will be condemned. And these signs will 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 anything deadly, it will by no
means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover'
Both forms of Jesus' commission stress the preeminence of bearing witness-of
preaching the gospel and making disciples-and both promise the presence of
the living Lord with His people. While Matthew focuses on the fact of Jesus'
presence-'I will be with you always'-Mark emphasizes the evidence of His
presence-'And these signs will follow those who believe...'
Our commission as believers is to preach to all nations 'repentance and
remission of sins' in Jesus' name. The 'Promise of My Father' refers to the
Holy Spirit, who descended upon and filled the believers on the Day of
Pentecost, at which time they were 'endued with power from on high.' As Acts
2:4 makes clear, the initial evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in
power was that the believers 'began to speak with other tongues, as the
Spirit gave them utterance.'
In every instance, the release of spiritual power is inextricably bound up
with the mission of bearing witness to Jesus. At the same time, speaking in
tongues is clearly linked to the release of spiritual power as the initial
outward manifestation of that power. Even then, however, its function was to
enable the multinational crowd in Jerusalem to hear and understand the
gospel, each in their own language, so that all who responded would be saved
Here, then, is a solid and unchanging biblical principle: We are given
spiritual power for the purpose of bearing witness to Jesus.
Mahesh Chavda Ministries International
P.O. Box 411008
Charlotte, NC 28241