Eat the whole thing!
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV
“Make your church not only a Word church, but a Holy Ghost church. Put the Word first always. Move in the Holy Ghost in line with the Word. And the glory shall be made manifest. The glory shall even be seen by many. And the blessings of the Lord will flow like a mighty river.”Kenneth E. Hagin, Prophecy 2003
In 1992, the Lord spoke to me by prophecy. He said to contend for the supernatural. He said there would come a day when the gifts and manifestation of the Spirit would be a rare occurrence even in our so called “Word” churches. I have been trying to fulfil that admonition ever since. The temptation to reduce the move of God to a repeatable formula is basic human nature. We want to control our own lives. God, on the other hand, wants us to follow His fresh move and touch in every service, every gathering, and in our daily walk with Him. This can be challenging. Satan hates Chritians who know and use their power.
Back in the 70’s, MacDonald’s Hamburgers had a jingle advertising their “Big Mac” sandwich:
“Two all-beef patties, special sauce,
lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions
on a sesame seed bun!”
They sold lots of burgers, and most Americans could sing the verse. Interestingly, the list of ingredients was quite mundane. Nearly every burger joint could quickly provide 2 patties (whether they were really all-beef was open to debate), lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions. Many could also supply sesame seeds on the bun. The real identifier here was the “special sauce.” It’s what made the “Big Mac” big. No special sauce? It’s just another burger.
In our Spirit-filled, Word of Faith churches, many have allowed our “special sauce” to become a rarely mentioned and oft-ignored part of our history, no longer part of our practice. That “special sauce” is speaking in tongues in the gathering of the saints. This practice was commonplace in the early years of my walk with the Lord. I looked forward to those times, whether in the sanctuary or in home gatherings, when we all lifted our hands, our hearts, and our voices and sang in languages we didn’t understand. I loved the times in small groups when we stood around someone with a need and laid our hands on them while we enthusiastically prayed over them in our heavenly languages. Praying and worshipping in tongues together is the “special sauce” that gives us a unique flavor. Many religionists and those who fear the taunts of the world, have said, “Make mine a plain burger, hold the sauce.”
The basic entry point into supernatural Christianity is what we refer to as the Baptism with the Holy Spirit or being filled with the Spirit. This is an experience that follows salvation. Salvation brings the Sprit in us in the new birth. The Baptism of the Spirit brings the anointing of the Spirit upon us as equipping for ministry to others. It’s the same Spirit, but in a different relationship and with a different purpose. (For more information on this subject see the Real Disciples Study Guide Lesson 5.)
When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he or she receives the ability to speak in a new language. This is what the bible calls “tongues.” This may be a known human language, or it may be one known only to God and the angels. I miss the once common practice of Spirit-filled believers exercising this gift in our gatherings. Whether in conferences, local churches, or home meetings, we prayed in tongues together at every opportunity. There was something very special and powerful about those times. Things happened.
In light of our previous discussions about the nature of agreement, the power of being in one accord, and the incredible benefit of being in His Presence, this makes a great deal of spiritual sense. Speaking in tongues has 2 benefits that are particularly helpful:
1. Unity is guaranteed. Notice Paul’s instruction in Romans 8:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.Romans 8:26-27 NLT
And in 1 Corinthians we see:
For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying.1 Corinthians 14:14 NLT
Or, as we see in the Amplified Bible, “my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays…”
Whatever else we do when we speak in tongues, we eliminate the restraints on our unity that come from our mental limitations, our culture, our education, and our religious training. God gives us words to speak that are in accordance with His will – the Spirit prays the will of God through us. When we allow Him to do this in a corporate setting where all of us understand what is happening there is a surge of power that is very difficult to explain with human language. In that atmosphere, things happen. Specifically, healing happens. Healing of the body, the mind, and the emotions.
2. Praise is perfected. There is power in the praises of God’s people. In fact, the Psalmist told us that God is enthroned on the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3). When we corporately lift our hearts and our voices to Him in praise and thanksgiving there is a Presence that is hard to ignore. Jesus fulfills His promise in Matthew 18:20, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Paul makes reference to the power of praise in Ephesians:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Ephesians 5:18-20 NIV)
And again in Colossians, he uses the phrase, “songs from the Spirit”:
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.Colossians 3:16 NIV
Many have puzzled over the meaning of “songs from the Spirit.” In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul followed up his statement about “my spirit is praying” in verse 14, with a strong declaration that he will include both tongues and his own language in his praying and his singing. He gives us insight into the importance and nature of “songs from the Spirit.”:
For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.1 Corinthians 14:14-15 NLT
One of the most wonderful benefits of being filled with the Spirit is the capacity to pray and sing with other tongues. One of the greatest benefits of being part of a community of believers is the opportunity to exercise this privilege together in supernatural one accord. For all the conflict and confusion that came with the confounding of languages at the Babel event (Genesis 11), God has given us the ultimate antidote: Corporate prayer and praise in words that He provides. When that happens, unity flows. We are all devoted to one purpose – seeing the will of God for healing manifest. We are all speaking the same language: God-given. We are all in one accord in adoration of the God who is Present: Jehovah-Sham (Ezekiel 48:35)
Here’s the Point: Corporate prayer and praise in tongues is the “secret sauce” of faith and power that belongs to us as Holy Spirit and Word people. It is the thing we have at our disposal that takes our faith formulas and transforms doctrine into experience. Don’t let it become a side-issue in your quest for healing. Don’t try to eat the burger without the secret sauce.
- If you’ve never experienced the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, take time to investigate.
- Spend personal time praying and singing in other tongues.
- Look for churches or groups where you can be part of a prayer group that prays in tongues.
- Try to find a church or group that incorporates singing in tongues in their worship.
In our next lesson we will look at the joy and safety of having spiritual authorities in our lives and the power that springs from that position of submission. You don’t want to miss it. Remember: God wants you healed, and so do we.
Check out the Real Disciples Study Guide.