One of the gifts that God has given me is the gift of tongues. It’s a gift that I value and prayerfully use often. I do cautiously believe that it is the sign of being baptised in the Spirit…And again I do say cautiously.
The reason being is that the Spirit of God can and does inspire all of his people to cry out to him in many languages. Across the world there are Chinese, Koreans, Canadians, Northern and Southern Americans, Europeans, Australians and many more being inspired by God to cry out that Jesus is Lord in their own native language. The only language I understand is English. And while many across the world can speak a variety of languages, there are many more like myself who only speak their native language.
Yet…no matter which language we speak, every Christian speaks a language given them by God. Therefore every prayer that is inspired by the Spirit of God is spiritually prayed, inspired and empowered. If the same Spirit can inspire an Asian to pray in his language; it stands to logical reason that the same Spirit can inspire me, you or any other person to pray in any language the Holy Spirit of God wishes you to pray in, whether its one you naturally speak or not.
To paraphrase what the Apostle Paul said, “I pray in my native language and I pray in what ever other language the Spirit of God grants me to pray, I pray in the understanding of my mind and the understanding of my spirit.”
No matter how the Spirit of God inspires us to pray – whether it be in our naturally learnt language or in one that is not… if indeed it is inspired by the Spirit of God the value of tongues has an inward, upward and outward value. It’s inward because we are inspired by God himself to pray. It’s upward because through the Spirits inspiration we glorify and worship God…and its outward because the Spirit of God inspires us to pray for others.
There are times when I do not know what to pray or how to pray and so I will ask the Lord to pray through and in me and allow me to pray through and in him… Often when I pray this way, the lord will inspire me to pray in my naturally learnt language and other times I will pray in an unknown language. Often, though not all the time – when I pray in my unknown language, I will have a sense of what it is I am praying or who I am to pray for or even how to pray in that circumstance or situation.
In the past the issue of tongues has been divisive within the global church…and in many parts of the church it is still a divisive issue today. Yet – they question I ask is why? Why, why why! Are we not united globally around the world with people worshipping, praying in languages given to them by God; languages that I don’t and you don’t understand? And yet, we are united not by the language we speak; rather by the Spirit of God who causes us to speak?
Therefore whether we pray in our natural tongue, or pray in an unknown tongue; let us together celebrate the same God who inspires us to pray and glorify that Jesus is Lord!