It would take several months before I spoke in tongues. However, in the days and weeks following the Life in the Spirit Seminar, I noticed unusual things happen to me.
First, I never wanted to have anything to do with the praise and worship songs of the Charismatics. But I started noticing a change. When I heard the sound of worship songs, I felt drawn to it. Those songs delighted my spirit. I couldn’t explain why; it just happened.
Second, I caught myself one day raising my arms to heaven when I worshiped. Up to that point, you couldn’t get me to raise my hands. Yet, here I was raising my hands in worship. I don’t recall anyone telling me to raise my hands. For some of you these details might sound trivial, but for me it was a big deal.
Third, I felt light and free and joyful. I couldn’t explain it; I just experienced it. Fourth, I noticed that I was more assured of God’s presence in my life. I felt God was close to me and I didn’t need anything. I felt drawn to Jesus in a new way. For the first time, I noticed that I didn’t need the Virgin Mary (or the saints) and sacramentals as much as I previously thought. Again, no one coached me. I just felt different inside me.
Fifth, I became bold, confident and spontaneous in prayer. When I joined the Charismatics, I learned about the spiritual authority of the believer and how to use it. For the first time in my life, when I discerned demonic activity, I knew what to do or say and I felt bold about it.
Let me share an example with you.
One day in the seminary, a classmate of mine was sick so I visited him to see how he was doing. He looked pale and weak. I sat next to him on his bed while we talked. He, too, was seated. Suddenly, his eyes rolled and became white and he bent backwards, looking unconscious and lifeless. In that very moment, I looked at him and spoke the following words, “I rebuke you, death!” As soon as I spoke those words, he sat up again as if I had woken him from a dream. His eyes became normal again and we continued our conversation.
The interesting thing is, he didn’t realize what had just happened. And I felt at that time that it wasn’t necessary, either, for me to tell him.
My point is, if I had faced this situation in my earlier life, I would have been scared or scrambled to recite some of the traditional prayers I had memorized (e.g. the “Hail Mary” or “Prayer to St. Michael”). But this time, I wasn’t moved a bit by what was happening in front of me. I knew by spontaneous discernment which spirit was trying to harm my friend (the spirit of death). I took authority, spoke directly to death and rebuked it to lose its grip on my friend. And it obeyed.
The next chapter of how I came to speak in tongues takes place in Rome, Italy. I’ll talk about that in my next post.
Until then, may the rivers of living water in you refresh you and meet every need in your life. Amen.