Barcelona—Los Pentecostales de Barcelona is located on a nondescript street near the city’s convention center. Twenty minutes before the evening service, the sounds of prayer and soft singing waft down from the second floor sanctuary. The lights have been dimmed, and some two dozen congregants are scattered throughout the large room, some on their hands and knees whispering prayers at their seats. Others hold hands in small groups and sing joyously.

The trait most associated with Pentecostalism and other charismatic forms of Christianity is glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, but here in Barcelona, there is little of that. Many, if not most, Pentecostals never find themselves so moved by the Holy Spirit that they speak in a language unknown to them, but all of these worshipers seek a personal relationship with God. Pastors, researchers, and parishioners alike define the central characteristic of Pentecostalism as a close, direct connection with...

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