The gift of speaking in tongues is a powerful gift from God that allows us to communicate directly with God from our spirits, without the hindrances of the flesh. Jesus made this gift available for us when He was raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of God.
This gift of speaking in tongues is for every single Christian. The Lord never intended for His people under the New Covenant to be without this precious gift. In fact, it was even prophesied about in the book of Isaiah.
For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, Isaiah 28:11
To receive the gift of speaking in tongues, ask the Lord for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The gift of speaking in tongues comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The only requirement is that you be a born again Christian.
When we speak in tongues, we speak directly to God from our spirit man, and we pray the hidden wisdom of God.
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries 1 Corinthians 14:2
Receive Salvation Before Speaking in Tongues
The only prerequisite to receiving the gift of speaking in tongues is that you receive salvation and become a born again Christian.
This means that you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This means that you believe He is the Son of God, and that He came in the flesh and died for you sins. It also means you believe that God raised Him from the dead.
When you receive salvation, your spirit man is instantly recreated as holy, righteous, and born of God. You literally become a child of God. You become a completely new creation. Your old spirit dies, and you become brand new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. This means that no matter where you come from, what your nationality is, or what your background is, if you call on the name of the Lord you shall be saved.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
There is no sin too bad that you cannot be forgiven and receive salvation. There is nothing that can disqualify you. When Jesus took the sin of the world on Himself at the cross, He took every single bit of your sin as well.
If you haven’t taken this step, you must become a Christian before receiving the gift of speaking in tongues. To read more about salvation, including a sample prayer to receive salvation, read Salvation by Faith: Exactly What it Means.
How to Pray for the Gift of Speaking in Tongues
Once you have received salvation, you can now ask Jesus for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is a separate experience from salvation but should be your immediate next step. John the Baptist prophesied about this baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus would give.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
When you pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you must believe you receive when you pray.
In the same way that you received salvation as a gift, receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a gift. This requires faith, just like everything else we receive from God.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13
You may not feel anything when you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Some people feel something and some people don’t. It doesn’t matter if you feel anything. You can be confident that when you ask, you will receive.
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:8
The ability to pray in tongues is given to every single person who receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In the book of Acts, we see that the ability to speak in tongues always accompanied the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts 19:6
If someone who already has the baptism in the Holy Spirit is available to pray with you and lay hands on you, that is wonderful, but it is not a requirement to receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues.
If you are by yourself, that is completely fine. You can still receive from God on your own.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15
It is always the will of God for you to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Once you have received salvation and become a new creation, you have a brand new spirit that is completely holy and righteous forever, ready to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
After you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the ability to speak in tongues is there, but sometimes you don’t start speaking automatically.
The language is available, but it requires your cooperation. For more about how to start speaking in tongues, read How to Activate Speaking in Tongues.
How is Water Baptism Different from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Water baptism is a separate experience from the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
At some point after you become a follower of Jesus Christ, you will want to be water baptized.
This is not a requirement for salvation, but simply an outward expression of what has happened on the inside of you.
When you are put under the water at a water baptism, it is an outward sign of the fact that your old man has been crucified with Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
When you rise out of the water, it is an outward sign of the fact that you have been raised up with Christ.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6
Your old man has died, and the new spirit has risen. Your new spirit is alive unto God, free from sin and contamination.
The Holy Spirit has forever sealed your new spirit so that sin can never touch it! It is truly amazing.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13