Acts 2:14-17 – But Peter, taking his stand with the other eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this, and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you assume, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS WILL PROPHESY…
The beginning of the age of the church started with a dramatic, and quite shocking demonstration of signs and wonders. Before this, the Holy Spirit was poured out on only a few special vessels such as prophets, priests, and kings. The ordinary person had no such personal experience with the power of God. On the Day of Pentecost all of this changed, everyone present at that prayer meeting was filled with the Holy Spirit and everyone began to speak in other tongues. Peter followed this up with a prophetic word referencing the prophet Joel and describing how all people now qualified to be filled with the Spirit and seemed to be connecting the prayer language to the spirit of prophesy. Here is how the Fire Bible describes this.
“Peter associates the speaking in other tongues with prophecy. This means that speaking in other tongues is one form of prophesying, which basically is using one’s voice for the service and glory of God under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, the 120 “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”; the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and his household, and Peter “heard them speaking in tongues and praising God”; and the disciples at Ephesus, when “the Holy Spirit came on them, … spoke in tongues and prophesied”.”
The prayer language was a major part of the Charismatic Renewal and the Jesus People Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Peter regarded the speaking in tongues as a sign that the end of the age was at hand. I will take that even farther, I think the prayer language is God’s supernatural sign that His Spirit is being poured out and is intended to let the world know the end of the age is upon us. Over the last several years many churches have played down speaking in tongues hoping to build their churches in attendance. That may actually work for a while but there is a price to pay with that approach, you lose the very outpouring of God’s Spirit in your church. I believe speaking in tongues will be a great supernatural sign to the last generation.