In the quiet dark of the night, with my family retired to bed, I kneel with face pressed into the throw pillows of our sofa, instrumental music playing quietly behind me. A surreal, almost physical sensation resonates in my soul. I am praying – but using words that flow without effort or forethought. Strange sounds and syllables spill from my lips. I am praying in tongues. And I love it.
I am aware of the the sometimes controversial subject of tongues. Some folks are anti-all-things-Pentecostal. Others are open to spiritual gifts, but don’t want them emphasized too much, especially tongues, and especially not in public. Whatever. I pray in tongues. I love it. I don’t insist on you sharing my perspective. I welcome you to consider my testimony. I pray in tongues. Often. I intend to do so more often. Here’s why…
I trust the Holy Spirit. I love Him – and I trust His leadership, His influence, His presiding presence in my life. When I pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit helps me pray – praying through me. Romans 8:26 seems to indicate that the Spirit helps me pray in particular when I don’t know how or what to pray. Frankly, my ability to know what or how to pray is diminuative compared to His. So, I trust him.
Interestingly enough, praying in tongues seems to encourage me to trust Him more. Somehow it focuses or deepens my awareness of His presence, of His help, of just how significant He is and how near He is. I long to lean into Him more.
And then, as I consider my life, my responsibilities, and the opportunites and challenges in front of me, praying in tongues becomes increasingly more appealing. Even as I kneel or pace, I meditate over the concerns before me, believing that the Spirit is more aware than I am, infinitely so, of what can be and what should be. I reflect on people, on tasks, on dreams and desires – painting them on the canvass of my imagination while I pray. I thoroughly believe the Holy Spirit is helping me, interceding for and through me according to the will of God.
Further, as all this occurs, I can sense my affections and thoughts being influenced. How I feel and what I think about people or circumstances or projects is warmed by the rays of His grace and wisdom. The intuitive, sensitive parts of my inner person are awakened. I often have impressions or images flash across my mind. These usually are with regard to how I should act or what I should say. He quickens a sacred empathy for others.
Finally, I pray in tongues because I can. Scripture informs me that I am being edified, somehow strengthened, improved, enhanced – whatever – as I pray in tongues. I can’t explain what is happening. I could theorize, but my theories aren’t as important as what I know to be true- that praying in tongues has a direct, positive impact on my person. I am better for it. Not better than the next person, but better than I was before. Not more saved. Not more loved by God. But better. It is impossible to interpret the New Testament otherwise – “he who prays in an unknown tongue edifies himself” (1 Cor. 14:4). So I will – even more.
One more thought – one that intrigues and inspires me. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 14:18 that he was thankful that he spoke in tongues more than all of his letter’s audience. Really? So Paul spoke (prayed) in tongues – a LOT. He did so much, so often, that he boasted confidently that he did so “more” than “all” of the Corinthians. Does that mean more than any one of them, or more than all of them combined? It doesn’t matter which – the point is that Paul was conscious of the volume of time he vested in tongues. And, he was THANKFUL to God for that time and for the impact it had. He knew that tongues was valueable, and he was acutely aware of the positive effects it had on his own life. Paul does not say enough about his prayer life for us to dissect and diagram. But he says enough to inspire. His testimony serves as an invitation to discover and explore just how beneficial tongues can be.
So, I pray in tongues.I want to do so MORE. I do so not because I worry about what happens if I do not, but because I wonder may happen if I do.
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