A student recently asked me why so many Pentecostals repeat the same sounds time after time when they are speaking in tongues. Good question, one I had not expected, but I gave him two initial thoughts. (Incidentally I speak in tongues, and am delighted to!)
Firstly, I asked him to consider the Psalms. Only 150 yet they are more than enough for a lifetime of devotion, adoration and worship of the Lord our God. I can read the same Psalm on three successive days and get something entirely different, but amazingly beneficial and edifying in God, from it each day. Using the same words each time does not nullify or negate the gift of tongues, the Spirit of God is rich in bringing power and meaning to the most mundane or oft repeated words.
Secondly, I addressed the issue of immaturity in the gift. If you are a tongue speaker you might be offended as I tell you that in my experience of Pentecostals or charismatics only a small percentage have any idea of the depth and power of the gift. In a few weeks many people will receive Christmas presents. They will give a cursory glance at the instructions then start using the item for what seems to them the most obvious function. The wise will read the instructions, check the item is in full working order and even go back to the instructions once they have mastered the ‘basic’s of the gift. Biblically we are almost illiterate about tongues. Intellectually (we are after all to love God with our mind, and I figure that includes speaking in tongues too) we are shallow.
Forget the shouting in defence of of your immaturity with regard to tongues – we need to grow up in the gift of God.