Finally, and about 30 years late, I’ve got round to reading Nine O’clock in the Morning by Dennis J. Bennett. The following, from page 39, is one of the best personal explanations that I’ve ever read of what happens when someone starts to speak in tongues. Make sure you read the whole quotation as Its conclusion is brilliant!
“It was okey with me, I was still very much interested, and really intrigued by my experience of Saturday afternoon. We sat down on opposite sides of the room and began to pray. Again there was no attempt to “work me up,” no emotionalism or excitement. Once more I prayed very quietly and cautiously, and this time, after only about three or four minutes, words began to come in another language, the same language, I noted, that I had spoken on the previous Saturday–at least it sounded like it. Again, I was in no way compelled to speak this new tongue. It was something that I could do if I chose. I was in no strange state of mind whatsoever, and was in full possession of whatever wits I normally had! The dynamics of the new language were entirely under my control: whether I spoke or not, whether I spoke loudly or softly,fast or slow, high or low. The only thing that was not under my volition was the form of the words and sounds that came when I chose to let them come. After all, how could I formulate words in a language I didn’t know?
It was like playing the work of a famous composer on the piano. I could play–loudly, softly, fast, or slow; and was free to play the whole thing an octave higher or lower, if I chose; but as long as I was playing, say Bach, or Chopin, I couldn’t be playing my own notes. I was playing their notes, not because I was compelled to, but because I chose to. So it is with speaking in tongues I was speaking the Holy Spirit’s words, not mine, but I was speaking them because I chose to, and in the manner that I chose.” (pg. 39)