From the Word of God we have three distinctly different examples of how to receive the gift. The disciples, who, by the way, had walked with Jesus three and one half years, waited 10 days with fastings and prayers before receiving. Although some might point out that it was God's choice that the Holy Spirit come on the day of Pentecost, that does not change the fact that the command of Acts 1:4 is to wait, a word that simply means to hang around, yet is derived from a more ancient word which means extreme passion. Since the disciples didn't merely hang around for the baptism with the Spirit, but waited with extreme passion (10 days in fastings and prayers is pretty extreme behavior), the fact that the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost is irrelevant. Jesus would not have commanded the Church (made up of 11 men) to wait for the baptism, if it should be an instant experience. Jesus would not have used this particular word "wait," if it was not imperative that believers wait. Further, the truth that Jesus stood in front of His Church and commanded them to wait for the baptism with the Spirit would indicate this to be the primary way believers were to receive. For many years now most churches have insinuated this experience should be instantaneous, you ask to be baptized with the Spirit and the gift of tongues rolls out of your mouth. This idea just does not line up with scripture. We can say unequivocally, based on the Word of God, most believers who come to Jesus to be baptized with the Holy Spirit will have to wait with extreme passion to receive. We cannot build doctrine on experience.
Our Second example comes from Acts 10. Peter is sent to Cornelius' house to preach the gospel to the gentiles. At the very moment Peter said, "that through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins," the Holy Spirit fell on those who were present and they spoke in tongues. These men evidently received salvation and the baptism with the Spirit simultaneously, even though the scripture clearly teaches them to be separate experiences.
Our third example comes from Acts 19. Paul arrives at Ephesus and finds certain disciples. These disciples are identified as disciples of John. Since John preached salvation through faith in Jesus, and Jesus has been crucified and rose again from the dead, these men are saved. It is interesting to note that because they had never heard of the Holy Spirit, in Paul's mind they could not be saved. The baptism with the Holy Spirit and salvation through faith in Jesus was so integrally connected in Paul's mind, you could not have one without the other. After re-baptizing these men in water for salvation, Paul laid hands on them and they received the baptism with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
My experience lines up perfectly with the Word of God. I have known people who have received the gift of tongues without ever hearing of them. One lady I knew was sitting in the middle of her bed worshiping and suddenly started speaking in an unknown language. Many people receive in a church service after coming forward to have hands laid on for the experience. I, myself, searched hard and only received after a protracted time of searching. Each of these examples are legitimate ways to receive the baptism with the Spirit. Since Jesus commanded the Church to receive this gift of the Father, the responsibility is on us to receive, one way or the other. Let me say this again. It is not Jesus' responsibility to make sure you receive this experience. Jesus invited believers to come (Jn.7:37), then commanded them to receive (Acts1:4). I have spoken to many many believers who sought the baptism with the Spirit and did not receive it and went away disappointed. They were not instructed to wait with extreme passion. They were not taught the words of the Lord of the Church.
Jesus described the experience as having Living Water pouring out of the belly. Since the Living Water pours out of the belly, it bypasses the mind. For those who struggle to receive, this is most often where the struggle is. James says whoever controls the tongue controls the whole body (Ja.2:3-5). As long as you control your tongue the Holy Spirit is unable to flow out of your belly. If you do not receive spontaneously and have hands laid on you to no avail, you will have to go the way of Jesus' disciples. There is no shame in following in their footsteps. Fasting and praying helps control the mind, which controls the tongue. Once the mind is silenced the Holy Spirit is free to flow out of the belly, producing the gift of tongues as He flows over the tongue. Acts 2:4 explains that those in the upper room spoke, as the Holy Spirit gave them the utterance, meaning that you will do the speaking, the Holy Spirit provides the words to speak. This is done in faith, believing that the Holy Spirit will put the words there as you begin to speak. Some people experience a bubbling up sensation in their belly. Giving voice to that bubbling up produces the gift of tongues. There is no harm in having hands laid on you multiple times if you are struggling to receive. The responsibility of obedience to this the only command Jesus gave the Church is paramount to all Christians.
In Matthew 16:6, Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees. Leaven is an ingredient that when placed in meal causes it to rise. The leaven expands and changes the meal. Jesus is warning the disciples not to add anything to His Word. In Mark 7 Jesus rebukes the Scribes and Pharisees for interpreting His Word. Their Interpretation of God's command to honor father and mother created a separate path to obedience that was no where close to the original. Jesus also rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for teaching the traditions of man as the doctrines of God. The modern Church has committed these same sins. We need to get back to the Word of God. The Word of God must be our foundation of belief, even if it contradicts our experience.
To all those who have asked Jesus to be baptized with the Spirit but as of yet have not spoken in tongues, the onus is on you to receive. Only by receiving can you walk in obedience to Jesus' command. The command is clearly to wait with fastings and prayers as that was the behavior of the original 120. It does not hurt to have hands laid on you but I would seek out someone who holds the gift of tongues with utmost respect as Peter and Paul did. I myself received after a long journey of seeking obedience. Although many men of all different persuasions laid hands on me to receive to no avail, I finally received while others spoke out their prayer languages in my presence. They weren't praying for me, they were simply worshiping God. I believe my experience to be the expected norm. It more closely lines up with God's Word. Receiving the gift spontaneously or by the laying on of hands are the exceptions to the rule. Jesus commanded the Church to wait with extreme passion to be baptized with the Spirit. Our goal should be to wait with extreme passion till we receive the prize, only we must wait in faith, believing that our God is a good God, and a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him (Heb. 12:6).