How I went from believing speaking in tongues is from the devil, to speaking in tongues myself.
When I first became a christian, I went to a church where nobody believed in speaking in tongues. So I grew up as a christian with a strong fear against speaking in tongues, believing everybody who confessed to have this gift of the Spirit, to be an instrument of satan. The christians in my church were very sincere, and they served the Lord with all their heart. The pastor invested his life in helping the members of his church, visiting the sick and helping people where he could. There was fervent preaching from the Bible and every week there was both a bible study and prayer meeting. I attended all of them, because I wanted to grow in the Lord.
My first years as a christian I only knew what I heard in this small church.
When I went to university however, something changed, that shook my world. I went to a christian student organization, and became very active in it, organizing city-wide evangelistic events and leading the group in the town where I studied. One day I went to an early morning prayer meeting in the apartment of one of my fellow students. When we began praying, I suddenly heard this student pray in a language I didn’t understand. I asked her what she was doing.
Surprised she answered: ‘I am praying in tongues, don’t you know about this?’
I furiously began rebuking her, claiming this was from the devil and she was demon-posessed. She was shocked and began to cry. ‘I am not demon-posessed’, she said. ‘I love Jesus with all my heart. Haven’t you read what the Bible says about speaking in tongues? It is a gift from the Holy Spirit!’ I continued rebuking her, believing I was right and she was deeply deceived.
When I left this prayer meeting, I was disturbed. I had seen how sincere she was… And I had seen her passion for Jesus. She really loved God with all her heart. ‘How sad,’ I pondered, ‘that this commited christian is so deceived by satan.’ I shook it off and went along, minding my own business, studying and evangelizing in the city, to bring students to Christ.
I had been saved from a past of drugs, sex and alcohol, and had encountered God in a tremendous way. As a result of this, my heart was burning to see others saved as well.
One day we had a group of christian students from other countries, who came over to help us in a city-wide evangelism campaign. The night before an event, we gathered in a small room to pray. To my surprise, one of these foreign students began to pray with a fire I had never seen in my entire life. She prayed with such intensity, with such a compassion for the lost, with such fervency… But what amazed me even more, is that this powerful intercessor suddenly began to pray in a weird language. It wasn’t Chinese, Russian or some unknown African tongue… It was a sound I could not recognize. But she was praying in this language with all her heart and her body was shaking, while she prayed.
I found it strange and disturbing. I couldn’t understand it.
I left the prayer meeting and went outside, to catch some fresh air. I looked up to the stars and I gasped for God. “Lord!” I cried out, in my heart… and suddenly I felt something bubble up in me… I felt words coming out of my mouth that I didn’t know. It was as if a fountain wanted to break forth from my innermost being. I was shocked and shut it down. What was this? I was reaching out to the Lord with all my heart, and suddenly this strange sensation happened…
I knew it had to be from God, but I was afraid. Could this be the same thing this other lady had, in the prayer meeting? On the one hand I longed to get closer to God and if this was from the Lord, I wanted it. On the other hand I was terrified.
I had been so indoctrinated by my church, that I was scared for anything supernatural.
A few months passed by, and I had a meeting with several leaders from international evangelistic organisations, like Operation Mobilisation. We were discussing how we could reach the students with Jesus Christ, and planned to set up a christian magazine for students. I would help with writing articles and making illustrations for it. There was one man from this team I particularly liked. His name was Chris and he was from the UK. He had a real heart for the students and he radiated the love of God. He was humble and transparent.
After the meeting I lingered at his apartment, and one way or another we began speaking about the topic of speaking in tongues. ‘I speak in tongues’ he said. ‘What?’ Now my world really began to waver. If he speaks in tongues – this passionate missionary who had left a comfortable life in the UK behind to serve Christ all over the world – then I had to re-consider my views about speaking in tongues. He began to explain to me what the Bible says about this gift and what the misconceptions were. He put me on a track where I finally dared to honestly think about this subject, without judging everyone who speaks in tongues right away.
Evangelizing in a small town
One year later I was part of a team who spent several weeks of their summer holidays, to evangelise in a small town in Belgium. About fifteen students, from Belgium and The Netherlands went to the homes of the people to share the salvation through Jesus Christ with them. One day I was teamed up with a girl from Holland and off we went. We went to several homes and I shared the gospel with the people.
I noticed something different however. This girl continually prayed.
Before we went into a new home, she asked me to stop and we prayed together. This was a real woman of prayer. Even while I was sharing the love of God with people, she constantly prayed for me. I couldn’t understand what she was praying, because it was very silent.
One day I suddenly came under demonic attack and fear gripped me. I felt powerless and I asked my team members to pray for me. This ‘intercessor-girl’ came to pray for me, along with her husband (they were newlyweds). Other people prayed words like ‘O Father, please help David.’ But these two prayed in a way I had never heard before. First they began to pray in tongues, really loud and bold. I felt a supernatural force beginning to operate, and then suddenly they commanded with authority: ‘Satan, we break your power! Let go of David now!’ I felt darkness leaving me, and became peaceful again.
I kept bumping into christians, who were very passionate about Jesus Christ and… who pray in tongues.
During this same evangelistic summer campaign, I met a medical student, who heard me stammer. In my story ‘Is God real?‘ I explain how the Lord healed me from a very serious stammering handicap. This medical student heard me stammer and testified how he also used to have a severe stutter and how the Holy Spirit had completely healed him.
One day he visited me in my home and shared with me what the Bible says about speaking in tongues.
Although I had seen a lot of it already and heard quite a bit, I still had many questions. My desire to reach the lost had grown even stronger and so was my hunger for God. Because I wanted to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, I longed to see in my own life what I read in the Bible. I read about the apostles Peter and Paul who performed amazing miracles, that stirred entire cities and brought thousands to Christ. In all my own efforts I only saw individuals come to Christ, once in a while.
There was tremendous hard work… with litte fruit. So I had been asking the Lord to help me become more like the first apostles.
When my friend visited me and opened the Bible with me, he offered to pray together. He began to pray out loud in tongues, with all his heart. I knew him as one of the most passionate evangelists I had ever met. He was the one who stayed up at night, during the campaigns, to pray for hours on end, while everybody else was sleeping. He was always radiant with the glory of Jesus and his eyes had a bright sparkle I didn’t see with many others. So when he prayed, I knew this was not the devil, but it was from a pure heart.
How I began to speak in tongues
My friend gave me the address of a couple he knew very well, in my home town, who could help me receive the Holy Spirit. He called it the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He encouraged me to get in touch with them. I waited a few weeks and then called them. They warmly welcomed me and for a couple of months they took me through the entire New Testament, showing me all the verses speaking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After months of studying the Bible and praying about it, I knew I had to take the step of surrender. One night the couple prayed for me to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I also call this receiving more of the Holy Spirit, or becoming fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
The fear of the supernatural had been imparted to me so deep, by my church, that for two hours I was terrified to let go of my control.
The couple prayed for me, and the power of God began to work in me, causing my body to tremble. I received deliverance from some evil spirits, who were obviously still attached to me, from my years without God. I had only been a christian for four years and nobody had ever prayed for me, to be set free from demons.
But I found it hard to let go of the control. I wanted to stay in charge of what happened inside of me. Suddenly I felt a well bubble up in my belly. This is it, I knew it. This is the well of the living waters, Jesus Christ speaks about in John 7:38
‘Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’
I felt it coming, but I was afraid to allow it to break loose. How could I know this was God? My fear was still there.
Then God did a miracle.
Let me explain: the past weeks I had been very impressed by the name of Lord called ‘LORD OF HOSTS’. This means He is the Captain of the armies of heaven, the millions upon millions of angels, the fierce and mighty warriors of heaven. Jesus is the Lord of hosts. Wow… I liked this. I had been praying to Him as the Lord of hosts and was fascinated by this name. And there was a bible verse that had been encouraging me, where God says: ‘I have taken you by the hand and I will lead you…’
Nobody knew these details of my secret life with God, except God Himself.
Suddenly the lady who prayed for me, paused, and everything became silent. Then I heard her say:
‘My son, do not be afraid. I have taken you by the hand and will lead you, from victory to victory, says the Lord of hosts.’
I was shocked… This had to be GOD speaking through her! Only He knew that these very words meant so much for me. Finally I dared to let go. It felt litterraly as if I was standing at the edge of a cliff and had to jump into the unknown depths… But now I knew, THIS IS MY FATHER INDEED!
So I let go of the control… and a river of living water bursted forth from my mouth.
It was a gushing river of supernatural words. The entire room was suddenly filled with the glorious presence of God. For hours on end we had been sitting down, and the couple had been praying for me tirelessly, persevering to see a breakthrough come to me… Now we are all standing on our toes, with our arms raised high, worshipping the glorious Lord of lords and King of kings, giving Him all we had. And this supernatural sounds and words rushed out of my mouth, as a river of living water. My entire body was buzzing, as if some sort of heavenly stream of energy was rushing through me. I thought by myself ‘If I touch the wall of a hospital now, everybody inside the building will be healed’. That’s how strong it was.
The next moment I suddenly saw Him… Jesus Christ came to me. Full of peace, power and love. He stood in front of me, and said only one thing: ‘David, I am Jewish.’
I was overwhelmed with His glory… The couple told me later they were convinced I had prayed in Hebrew. It sounded really beautiful. Years later I had a tremendous experience where I prayed in tongues, in front of a Jew, who was into new age and with whom I had been discussing the Bible for hours, while he kept rejecting all I had to say. When he heard me pray in tongues, he said: ‘This is old Hebrew!’ And he changed completely, suddenly opening his heart for Jesus Christ. (Read the full story of this amazing miracle of speaking in tongues).
From struggle to glory
For me, it was a struggle of several years before I could open my heart for the rivers of living water, of the Holy Spirit. I had a sincere heart for God, I was a passionate servant of Christ, I wanted to give my life for the spreading of the gospel, but I lacked the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Much of what I was doing, was in my own strength. Since I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and received the gifts of the Spirit, I felt a change in my life. My prayers became filled with faith, I sensed the presence of God when I worshipped Him, I became even more bold in preaching the gospel, my love intensified, and so on.
God became even more real to me.
It was a real battle, to break free from the teachings I had been receiving at my church. When they heard I had become ‘pentacostal’ (as they called it) they began to reject me and gossip about me. This was really painful. ‘David has departed from the true path’ they said. ‘David has moved away from the Bible’, ‘David has become deceived’ All sorts of wrong ideas popped up. But the truth is I was reading more in the Bible than ever! I followed Christ with even more passion than before.
I experienced a lot of misunderstanding and eventually had to leave the church.
I felt God say: ‘David, if you stay here, I can’t fulfill My plan with your life.’ I thought I had to stay there, to help the Spirit of God break through in the church. We had a new pastor and he told me several times ‘David, I see you as a true prophet in this church’. But whenever I said something, I believed the Father was saying, the answer was: ‘Yes, but… the leaders won’t agree…’, ‘Yes, but… the members of the church are not willing…’, ‘Yes, but… we have to take it very slowly…’ Therefor the Lord said:
‘Leave! Love them, bless them and follow ME!’
Since I did this, and followed Christ, He led me on an adventurous path of discovering more and more of Him. I have become more fruitful in spreading the gospel then I ever dreamed possible. I have seen so many miracles happen, people getting healed before I even touched them, demons leaving people, addictions broken, marriages restored, and so on. I reach people in over two hunderd nations now. If I had stayed in the church where the Holy Spirit was not welcome as Who He truly is, I had been hindered in every way, for the rest of my life. I chose to follow Jesus Christ, and He is continually amazing me.
I encourage everyone who reads this, to become a true follower of Christ.
Don’t be a pleaser of men. Men will not help you know God in His fulness, if they themselves don’t want to encounter Him in all His glory and majesty. If all people want is words, words and words, then you will become dead spiritually. As the apostle Paul says:
‘The kingdom of God does not consist in talk, BUT IN POWER.’ (1 Corinthians 4:20)
Learn more about speaking in tongues
In the following articles you can read more about the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, the power of God, miracles and so on. Jesus Christ did miracles everywhere He went and He commanded us to do the same. Read what the Bible truly says about miracles. And become a true follower of Jesus Christ. Not only in words, but first of all in DEEDS.
What is speaking in tongues?
All you need to know about speaking in tongues. What is it? What does the Bible say about it? Why is it so powerful? What are the different functions of it? How should we pray in tongues? Dangers of praying in tongues, and more.
How to receive the Holy Spirit
What steps do we need to take, in order to receive the Holy Spirit? What are the obstacles? Can other christians help us with this? How do we know it’s God’s will for us? Read all about it in this practical step by step article.