Because no one really knows what they’re saying when they’re speaking in tongues, I tended to not do much of it at first. But over the years the gift seemed to prove itself over and over again. I first started to note its power several years ago when I woke up from a bad dream and immediately felt like I was being attacked by something spiritual. My brain instantly started praying in tongues at an expedited rate until the attack ceased. I didn’t know what to say in that moment, but the Spirit did.
Once during a deliverance session, I started praying in tongues at a low volume and the demon mocked me from across the room. “Do you really think that works?” Despite its mockery, I could tell I just struck a chord. And then with another person a demon rolled its eyes and sighed. “Oh tongues. Your Father gave you that gift.” Another chord struck. Soon it became commonplace to use it in deliverance and it seemed to especially annoy some, if not even cause them pain.
Over the course of such prayer sessions, I noticed a new word added into my tongue, and after a few days, my friend mentioned that they felt something rise up in them whenever I said that specific word. In our search to understand it more, we found a Hebrew word that seemed to closely match it in pronunciation. We felt the definition of that Hebrew word matched their situation as a prophetic declaration of sorts, so we held onto it closely. Once, after a very special movement of the Spirit, I felt the need to say that word out loud. As I did, the person broke down and cried.
“You could literally feel that word in the air,” I mentioned.
“Why does that make so much sense?” they agreed.
Our words carry power, and no one has ever carried more of that power than Jesus. The gospel writers often use the Greek word “exousia” in reference to Jesus’s words, which we translate as “authority.” This exousia must have been felt in Jesus’s words, because people often marveled at the things he said. It didn’t matter if his words matched their understanding, they could feel the authority.
And the same exousia with which he preached, was the same exousia he would use to cast out demons. He had no need for long deliverance sessions—his exousia was greater than any demon he faced. He’d tell them to leave, and with a word they would.
While I’ve never seen anyone exhibit the same level of exousia Jesus had, I feel I have seen some of it in other church leaders. There are some teachers where the exousia is tangible even in their worst messages and it can be evidenced in the fruit that follows their words. In those moments, the Spirit is deeply at work.
Let us be careful to guard our words, for they have the power to bless and to curse. And as Christians who have been delegated gifts and authority, our words carry great weight.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Luke 4:31-37 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.