Pastor and best-selling author Max Lucado recently shared that he received the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, which he now practices during his prayer time.
“When I was 64 on a July morning, as I was praying, I began praying in tongues,” Lucado told Ed Stetzer and co-host Daniel Yang on The Stetzer Church Leaders Podcast. “I had not done anything different, except I came across the passage where the Apostle Paul said, ‘Eagerly desire the spiritual gifts’…I prayed that every morning for two or three weeks. And then one morning, early in the morning, I began praying in a heavenly language.”
Lucado, the teaching minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, published his latest book, Help Is Here: Finding Fresh Strength and Purpose in the Power of the Holy Spirit, last September.
As reported by ChurchLeaders.com, despite growing up in church, Lucado did not learn much about the Holy Spirit until his senior year of high school, when he met an evangelist during the Jesus Movement.
“I was invited even to receive the gift of praying in tongues,” said Lucado. He noted that he was willing to receive the gift at the time, “but nothing happened.” He added that he was not truly following God at the time and later returned to his “old ways.”
Lucado returned to God in his twenties and entered the ministry. When he was in his early thirties, however, he became overwhelmed by the pressures of ministry.
“That’s when the wheels came off again,” he said. “I was that pastor who wanted to do everything just right and solve every problem, answer every question, and developed insomnia stressed out. My wife was depressed, clinically depressed. I was a mess. I couldn’t sleep at night. And that’s when I began to understand John 14 of the Holy Spirit as a friend and a comforter.”
Although he believed he had received the Holy Spirit when he first decided to trust in Christ, Lucado said he “didn’t know how to follow him and how to respond to him.”
“And sometimes I think that all of Christianity is reduced down to this one invitation to receive the Holy Spirit,” he added.
As he continued his walk of faith, Lucado learned the importance of trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in strategies and trends.
“I can look back on some occasions in which I had encounters with the Holy Spirit that are just personal moments in which I felt like I received an additional gift, perhaps, of the Holy Spirit, a unique call or an anointing, the very supernatural type of moments, but [my journey has been] more a gradual takeoff of the airplane than an explosion of a rocket,” he said.
The Christian author shared that one way he relates to the Holy Spirit is that God guides in thoughts.
“I am more convinced than ever that if I say, ‘Heavenly Father, should I say yes to this or no?’ And then I sit quietly for a few moments, I will have an answer surface in my mind. And I follow that.”
Lucado further encouraged pastors to grow in their relationship with the Holy Spirit in order to receive His gifts.
“I think a childlike faith is really the soil in which the seeds of the Holy Spirit are best sown. A childlike faith that says, ‘Whatever you want to give me.’”
For instance, Lucado revealed that the gifts he has received differ from his wife. “She has a really powerful sense of discernment,” he said. “She picks up on, I think, the presence of a demonic force that I don’t even notice.”
“As pastors,” he continued. “I believe we can continue to say, ‘Lord, am I receiving everything you want to give me? I’m open. I’m thrilled with what you’ve given me. If I receive nothing else, wonderful. But if you have another strength, a gift of hospitality or gift of teaching, if you’re going to strengthen this or that, please, I’m just available.’ So I think that’s the attitude that we have to take.”
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.