This short little book is packed with a lot of good info from Joyce's personal experience. Although she had been a Christian for some time, she never felt the Holy Spirit. At one point, she asks God for the Holy Spirit while she is driving in her car and He answered her prayer!
A friend told me about this book because she heard me saying that I had been interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit and its fruits: healing, tongues, power, prophesy, mercy, etc. My friend loved the book and said that I would be a good one for me to read at a time when I'm curious about these types of things. It's not a how-to book or a this-is how-it-is-for-everyone book. It's her personal story. I appreciate that.
I liked that Joyce talked about all of these things, and not just tongues, in her book. This book is packed with scripture and with Joyce's personal stories. I found it to be valuable information as I seek to learn more about the Holy Spirit. It opened up my mind to a lot of things, but I still have some confusion.
I don't know about you, but I've always questioned the idea of a "prayer language." 2 Corinthians 14 talks about tongues within the church and says that if you are speaking in tongues without an interpreter, you are not helping anyone but yourself.
Intelligibility in Worship
14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening,encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues and through the lips of foreignersI will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,says the Lord.”[e]
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
So, I it seems like babbling tongues purposelessly isn't what God had in mind-- at least in public places. Without interpretation, it's nothing more than noise and confusion. And frankly, it freaks people (especially non Christians and new believers) out. I still don't really know what exactly it should look like, but I'm looking to learn more.
I guess to summarize what I learned - The Holy Spirit manifests itself in a personal and individual way in each of us. I don't think it's right to feel self conscious about your closeness with God if you haven't ever spoken in tongues or prophesied. I may never speak in tongues, but I don't think that means that I don't have the Holy Spirit.
Any thoughts? Any book suggestions for me?