Q. I have heard individuals begin to “speak in tongues”, but I never have. Recently I read a writing by an evangelical preacher who stated that the Lord told him to pray in tongues for one hour a day, and that he does so. I was of the impression that one could/would only speak in tongues when the Holy Spirit came upon them. I am absolutely a believer, but I have never spoken in tongues. I pray that my not speaking in tongues does not mean that my faith is somehow deficient. Could you please provide me with some insight?
A. In 1 Cor. 12:7-11 Paul said that the Spirit distributes His gifts to each of us for the common good just as He determines. Different believers have different gifts. The idea that all believers should speak in tongues is man’s idea, not God’s. So if you don’t speak in tongues, it means you’ve been given a different gift. Your challenge is to discover the gift (s) you’ve been given and use it (them) for the good of the Church. The inability to speak in tongues does not mean your faith is deficient.
If God told the preacher you mentioned to pray in tongues for an hour each day, then He will empower the preacher to do so, although this doesn’t seem to fit the Biblical purpose of speaking in tongues. In 1 Cor. 14:22 Paul said tongues are meant to be a sign for unbelievers, not for believers, and certainly not for God. The preacher may have been referring to something some believers call a prayer language, which is not the same as speaking in tongues as the Bible defines it.