"My understanding as a teenager was to 'seek' the Holy Spirit, and then the Holy Spirit would take over my mouth. At a youth camp, a pastor excitedly told me that the Holy Spirit was there and encouraged me to speak out. I did exactly that, and I received." —Edwin Smith
Glory Carriers demonstrate the manifest presence of God with signs and wonders because they have cultivated over time an intimate friendship with the Spirit of God. Every friendship has a starting point, however, and I believe friendship with the Holy Spirit begins with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We read in the Bible how this experience is necessary for us to walk in the power of the Spirit.
Holy Spirit Baptism in the Bible
Let's look at two biblical promises: first, John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matt. 3:11). Later, Jesus said, "For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. ... You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you" (Acts 1:5, 8a).
The Bible illustrates clearly that when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, He gifts you with a supernatural language. This is the sure sign that you have received the promise of the Spirit. Let's look at this in Scripture:
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, being distributed and resting on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak" (Acts 2:1-4).
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. All the believers of the circumcision who had come with Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and magnifying God" (Acts 10:44-46).
A third verse in Acts illustrates a direct connection between tongues and Spirit baptism: "When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (19:6).
Other passages in the New Testament reveal the same truth, only indirectly. For example, in Acts 8, the apostles in Jerusalem had heard that there were disciples being made in Samaria. Keep in mind that these were new believers in Jesus who had only been water baptized. The apostles traveled to Samaria and prayed for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit "for still He [the Holy Spirit] had come on none of them. They were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:16-17).
There had to have been some kind of evidence or sign to prove that they had received. The biblical account does not say directly that the new believers spoke in tongues, but something took place that was so obvious that Simon Magus offered the apostles money to give him the ability to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit, too. Simon's offer was met with a swift and stern rebuke by the apostle Peter, who said, "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could purchase the gift of God with money!" (Acts 8:20).
The apostle Paul powerfully converted to Christianity, having been confronted by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. What is interesting is he was not baptized with the Holy Spirit upon his dramatic conversion but received a few days later when Ananias visited him and laid hands on him specifically to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 9:17). Again, the biblical account does not directly say that Paul spoke in tongues upon his infilling, but we know he must have because later he gave testimony to the Corinthians, "I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than all of you" (1 Cor. 14:18).
How to Receive Holy Spirit Baptism
"I really wanted to have a prayer language and tried so hard to sit in His presence and wait for it to happen. I was at a youth group one night as a teenager and watched nearly everyone else around me receive and speak in tongues, but not me. I remember feeling that I was doing something wrong or that I was not spiritual enough. Fast forward many years later, and I remember waking up in the night groaning in my sleep while praying for my separated marriage, which was later reconciled. I opened my mouth, and out bubbled the most beautiful utterance of tongues! I've never struggled since." —Tonya Almendarez
People receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit in different ways. Some receive spontaneously and sovereignly without trying, others have hands laid on them to receive, and then others press into the blessing on their own and receive that way. There is no right or wrong way or even a right or wrong place to receive your heavenly language, just the promise that you will. If you, or someone you know, need to receive your supernatural language, here are some steps to help:
- Believe in Jesus. Sometimes people try to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they have not yet given their life to Christ. They do not receive Him because they have not met the internal conditions to do so. You have to be born again to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but once you are, you do not have to wait to receive your prayer language either. You have the capacity right then and there to speak in other tongues.
- Ask for it. We see from the written word that we are encouraged to ask for the Holy Spirit. There is no qualifier for asking except that you be born again. You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to have your life cleaned up. As eager as you are to receive, He is even more excited to gift you with your spiritual language. As a son or daughter of God, you do not need to beg. Simply ask in faith and be ready to receive His glorious promise.
"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Luke 11:9-10).
- Know that you will not receive something evil on accident. Some people resist seeking the baptism of the Spirit because they fear they might receive a demon instead of the Holy Spirit. I can understand how some might think this way not yet knowing what to expect if they open themselves up to a spiritual experience. I want to assure you, however, that if you ask for the promise of the Spirit, then you will only receive the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus' words in Luke 11:11-13: "If a son asks for bread from any of you who is a father, will you give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will you offer him a scorpion? 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?"
- Speak in other tongues. As I researched how other ministries teach on this subject, many propose that once you have asked for the Holy Spirit then you have automatically received the baptism and should be able to speak by faith in tongues right then and there in almost robotic fashion. Their approach to receiving the promise of the Spirit is based more in our legal and covenantal rights with God, while neglecting to mention the deeper relational components of the experience. Corey Russell, a senior leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, writes that speaking in tongues is a summons to experience the power of a person—the Holy Spirit. And Jesus refers to it as the "promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4b) because it is deeply based in His Sonship.
Stepping into a new spiritual experience that is firmly grounded in relationship makes surrender much easier. When you ask the Father for the Holy Spirit, you then surrender your whole self, meaning your spirit man, your breath, your physical tongue, to allow Him to immerse you with His power until a glorious spirit language begins to flow from your innermost being.
Many people say their prayer language began with just one word or one syllable, and they spoke that out over and over until it developed into more sounds and even more words. Others have expressed that their spiritual language sounded like babbling at first, much like how a baby would sound, but it evolved over time into a more distinct language.
By the way, the Holy Spirit does not force you to speak in tongues. Instead, you give breath to the words that either bubble up or flow out from your spirit as you feel the infilling of His power. These are unpremeditated words that you speak out. They flow like a river from the inside of you, and once you have received your language, you do not lose it either.
As you engage in this gift daily and it develops in you, there emerges a beautiful communion of words sealed in heavenly mystery between you and the Spirit of glory. This togetherness of words becomes the gateway to His manifest presence being seen through signs and wonders, wonders that all communicate He has come to dwell with us.
Jennifer Eivaz is a minister and international conference speaker with a heart to equip the church in the supernatural and raise up passionate and effective prayer. She is a regular contributor to Charisma online and The Elijah List. She has been featured on several Christian television shows, hosts the podcast Take 10 With Jenn and has authored several bestselling books. Jennifer lives with her husband, Ron, and their two children in Turlock, California, where she serves as an executive pastor at Harvest Church. Please visit jennifereivaz.com.
(The preceding is an adapted excerpt taken from Jennifer Eivaz's book, Glory Carriers.)
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.