What Hinders Speaking in Tongues?

Speaking in tongues is often misunderstood as merely speaking an unlearned foreign language, yet it embodies a deeper spiritual dimension. It’s a unique form of prayer and worship that fosters a personal and intimate communion with the Divine, accessible to anyone willing to embrace this spiritual gift. However, despite its profound potential for enhancing spiritual growth, certain factors can impede individuals from experiencing this gift. In this post, we’ll delve into what hinders speaking in tongues and how to navigate these obstacles.

What Hinders Speaking in Tongues?

Several things can make it hard for someone to speak in tongues. Some might feel unworthy or inadequate to receive this gift. Others might doubt their understanding of doctrine or their level of spirituality.

Fear is another obstacle. Some individuals fear being perceived as odd or different if they speak in tongues. They worry about being judged or looked down upon by others.

For some, it’s simply a lack of exposure to the concept of speaking in tongues. They don’t know where to begin or how to approach it. They might feel like they’re missing something or making mistakes if they try without guidance.

While these barriers exist, they shouldn’t discourage anyone from attempting to speak in tongues. If you feel a calling to do so, don’t let anything hold you back!

5 Things That Hinder Speaking in Tongues

1. Your Lack of Faith

Faith serves as the cornerstone of spiritual interactions, including speaking in tongues. According to biblical teachings, faith is essential for receiving God’s blessings. However, many believers falter in this aspect, lacking either the knowledge or the conviction necessary to pursue the gift of tongues.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Moreover, maintaining righteousness and spiritual integrity is essential in the pursuit of spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues. God desires sincerity and obedience from His followers, and He bestows His gifts upon those who demonstrate a genuine commitment to living according to His will. Thus, believers should strive to live upright lives, free from unconfessed sin, as they seek to receive and exercise spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues.

2. A Poor Prayer Life

Speaking in tongues is not a substitute for traditional prayer but rather a refinement of the prayer experience. A weak prayer life reflects a lack of commitment and desire for communion with God, hindering the reception of spiritual gifts.

Developing a robust prayer life involves dedication, discipline, and a genuine desire to commune with the divine. Those who invest time and effort in prayer demonstrate their earnestness, prompting God to bless them with the gift of tongues as a means of enhancing their prayer experience.

3. Pride

Pride erects a formidable barrier to receiving the gift of tongues, as it fosters self-sufficiency and undermines humility. Those who harbor prideful attitudes often dismiss speaking in tongues as nonsensical or unnecessary, failing to recognize its significance in spiritual expression.

Overcoming pride requires humility and a willingness to surrender to God’s will. Recognizing the limitations of human understanding and embracing the mysteries of faith are essential steps toward receiving the gift of tongues. Moreover, believers must resist the temptation to prioritize worldly perceptions over spiritual truths, acknowledging that God’s ways surpass human comprehension.

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4. Not Having the Proper Mindset

Having the proper mindset is crucial for engaging in spiritual practices like speaking in tongues. Some individuals may approach this gift with skepticism or doubt, hindering their ability to receive it fully. Cultivating a mindset of openness, receptivity, and trust in God’s provision is essential for overcoming this hindrance.

Believers should focus on aligning their thoughts and attitudes with the truth of God’s Word, which affirms the validity and importance of speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift. By renewing their minds and embracing a mindset of faith and expectancy, believers can remove barriers that impede their experience of speaking in tongues.

5. Being Afraid or Ashamed of Speaking in Tongues

Fear and shame can paralyze believers, preventing them from fully embracing the gift of tongues. Some individuals may worry about how others perceive them or fear the unknown aspects of speaking in tongues. However, Scripture encourages believers to cast aside fear and boldly embrace the gifts that God has provided.

Overcoming fear and shame requires stepping out in faith and trusting in God’s faithfulness. Believers should remember that speaking in tongues is a manifestation of God’s power and presence in their lives, not something to be ashamed of. By surrendering their fears and insecurities to God, believers can experience the freedom and empowerment that comes from speaking in tongues.

How to Receive the Gift of Speaking in Tongues

Receiving the gift of speaking in tongues is a desire many believers hold close to their hearts. It is seen as a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence and an intimate form of communication with God. If you are seeking to receive this gift, there are several steps you can take, drawing upon relevant scriptures to solidify your journey:

1. Believe in the Possibility

Belief serves as the foundation for receiving any spiritual gift, including speaking in tongues. In Mark 9:23, Jesus emphasizes the power of faith, stating, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” As you embark on this journey, cultivate a steadfast belief in the possibility of receiving the gift of tongues. Trust in God’s promises and His willingness to bestow this gift upon those who earnestly seek it.

2. Ask God in Prayer

In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus encourages believers to ask, seek, and knock, promising that those who ask will receive. Approach God in prayer with humility and sincerity, expressing your desire to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. James 4:2 reminds us, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Therefore, boldly petition God for the gift, trusting in His abundant grace and generosity.

3. Yield to the Holy Spirit

Surrendering to the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit is essential for receiving the gift of tongues. Acts 2:4 describes how the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Similarly, Romans 8:26-27 assures believers that the Spirit intercedes for them with groans that words cannot express. Yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to work through you and empower you to speak in tongues.

4. Receiving the Gift by Faith

Once you have embraced these steps—believing, asking, and yielding—you position yourself to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. Acts 2:38 reaffirms that the gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ. As you open your heart to God’s presence and His Spirit, anticipate His transformative work in your life. Trust that He will grant you utterance and empower you to speak in tongues as a manifestation of His grace and love. Now begin to speak as the Spirit gives you utterance.

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By following these steps with faith and obedience, you can position yourself to receive the gift of speaking in tongues, drawing closer to God and experiencing the fullness of His Spirit in your life.

What to Do If You Don’t Speak in Tongues

If you find yourself in a position where you have earnestly attempted to speak in tongues but have not yet experienced this gift, do not be discouraged. Remember that spiritual gifts are bestowed according to God’s timing and purposes. In 1 Corinthians 12:11, it is written, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Therefore, continue to seek God’s presence through prayer and the study of His Word.

One practical step you can take is to immerse yourself in the teachings of Scripture and connect with a faith-believing church community. Surrounding yourself with fellow believers who can offer encouragement, support, and prayer can be instrumental in strengthening your faith and stirring up the gifts within you. As Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

By engaging in fellowship with other believers and participating in corporate worship, you create an environment where the Holy Spirit can work more powerfully in your life, leading you into a deeper understanding and experience of spiritual gifts. Trust in God’s timing and remain steadfast in your pursuit of His presence, knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises in His perfect timing.

What Are the Advantages of Speaking in Tongues?

Speaking in tongues offers a direct line of communication with God. It’s a unique form of prayer where only God understands what we’re saying. This intimate connection allows us to converse with our Heavenly Father and tap into His supernatural power.

Many see speaking in tongues as a sign of spiritual maturity. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our speech, we can pray for others and advocate on their behalf. Moreover, numerous individuals have shared experiences of receiving divine insights or wisdom while speaking in tongues—revelations they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Engaging in tongues also strengthens our faith. By stepping out in faith and trusting the Holy Spirit to provide the words, we expand our confidence in Him. This deepens our reliance on God, fostering spiritual growth and fortifying our faith—a truly valuable outcome!

Bible Verses About Speaking in Tongues

In the Bible, there are several verses that discuss speaking in tongues, each offering a unique perspective on this gift.

1 Corinthians 14:2 states, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.” This verse highlights how speaking in tongues is a form of direct communication with God, strengthening our personal faith with Him.

Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 14:4 declares, “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” Here, we see that sharing our experiences of God’s work through tongues can inspire and uplift fellow believers.

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In Romans 8:26-27, it is written, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” This passage assures us that even when we struggle to articulate our prayers, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, aligning our petitions with God’s will.

Lastly, 1 John 5:14-15 affirms, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him.” These verses reassure us that when our prayers align with God’s plan, He hears and responds to them.

Understanding the Obstacles to Speaking in Tongues

Numerous factors might inhibit someone from speaking in tongues. Among the most prevalent obstacles are:

  • Insufficient knowledge about the nature and process of speaking in tongues.
  • Disbelief in the possibility or authenticity of speaking in tongues.
  • Apprehension about embracing and yielding to the experience.
  • Self-awareness or discomfort at the thought of speaking in tongues publicly.
  • Worry over being perceived as unconventional or peculiar by others.

For those intrigued by the prospect of speaking in tongues, it’s vital to address and surmount these obstacles. It’s important to recognize that speaking in tongues is a recognized and natural aspect of various Christian traditions. Approach the experience with an open mind and a relaxed attitude to see what unfolds.

Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles to Speaking in Tongues

A number of common obstacles can deter individuals from speaking in tongues, but many of these can be mitigated with understanding and a bit of effort.

Fear stands as a significant barrier. The concern over how one might sound while speaking in tongues or fear of judgment from others can be daunting. It’s essential to acknowledge that individual experiences vary, and there’s no prescribed manner to speak in tongues. If anxiety or nervousness arises, a deep breath and a moment of relaxation can be helpful. Regular practice can enhance comfort and ease with the process.

Self-doubt is another hurdle, where individuals may question their own capability to speak in tongues or the legitimacy of the practice. In moments of doubt, reflecting on past accomplishments and overcoming challenges can be encouraging. Believe in yourself and your capacity for acquiring this gift.


In conclusion, recognizing and addressing the barriers to speaking in tongues is crucial for anyone seeking to embrace this spiritual gift. It’s essential to ensure that you have committed your life to your faith, as this is the foundation for such spiritual experiences. Additionally, addressing any unresolved sins and cultivating a heart open to divine influence are vital steps. If you find yourself facing challenges in these areas, seek guidance and assistance through prayer, asking for the strength and clarity to move beyond these obstacles.

Embrace the journey towards a deeper spiritual connection and consider reaching out to a spiritual leader or joining a community of faith for support and guidance. The path to speaking in tongues is one of personal and spiritual growth, and taking proactive steps towards overcoming these barriers can lead to a more profound experience of this unique gift.

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