I debated about whether to write about it here, given that it is one of those polemical topics which can scare readers or get me labeled as a charismaniac. But given the impact the topic is having on my thoughts and on my relationship with God, I guess I'll just take the leap and pray that you hop on for the ride.
I'll spare you the details of how it unfolded, other than to say that my darling DiDi's prayer brought it about. She released it. It came pouring out immediately after she prayed that I be used powerfully for healing. As I prayed for 5-6 people and situations who came up to my group with requests, I focused entirely on this newly unleashed voice. My team partner prayed with them conventionally, addressing the needs they raised. But as for me, sound poured out from my heart without stopping for processing into thoughts and words.
(By the way; it isn't a particularly pretty sound. It's full of weird non-American-English-sounds and mouth formations, along with some clicky Aftrican sounds and sibilants. Not a thing of beauty as one might hope. Nothing flowing and melodic.)
It was an astonishing prayer session. The Holy Spirit fell heavily as I received His body on my tongue, and by the time we were finished praying for everyone I felt spent as after a night of love. Not tired out, not weary or exhausted, but both filled and poured out.
It was lovely.
A few days later, I prayed for my dear friend while driving. Since I was by myself, there was no self consciousness and I didn't have to worry about volume.
And so I prayed this way, on and on, my heart soaring and aching the way it does when listening to a passionate violin concerto.
The prayer poured out as if it were music, unfettered and unformed by the word processing of my mind. My mouth became an instrument transmitting the vibrations of my heart.
My soul sang to God.
(More on this subject to come...)
In the Acts of the Apostles, when the Spirit descends on the apostles, it seems clear that they began speaking in other languages. They may not have known what they were saying, but they were real languages and real words.
Do you think that you were speaking real words in some other language? I must admit I am a little uncomfortable with the idea that 'speaking in tongues' is just uttering meaningless babble. I just don't know how to situate that kind of thing theologically.
My Mom was involved with the charismatic movement for a long time. I think she also used to pray this way.
Thanks for sharing your reflections and experiences. And pray for me too if you think of it, you seem to have a special relationship with God and I could definitely use them!
Two "tongues" are mentioned in Acts and various epistles. The first type is the gift of another language so that the Spirit speaks what He wishes people from other lands to hear. The second is -prayer- in tongues, which Paul describes as being straight from the heart to the Spirit, without involvement of the mind. He talks about tongues extensively in 1 Cor 14, though he mixes the two in a way which doesn't help a whole lot with differentiation.
You asked if I think I am praying real words. That's a good question; I don't know. My gut says that in the context I described it was not an actual language, because the Spirit was not using it to inform anyone else. On the other hand, a few days after I had this experience, I was searching YouTube for videos on the Old Testament and came across one on the topic of Aramaic. I was shocked to hear one of the speakers, because it sounded -a lot- like the prayer I was pouring out. It had just the same weirdnesses.
How wonderful it would be if that were true; that I could pray in Jesus' native tongue...
But I don't presume that to be the case. It is too wonderful for me.
"And even things without life, giving sound, whether flute or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?"
Sorry Brian, I meant to tell you that I will indeed keep you in prayer!
I remember hearing a sermon once about Pentecost -- in which the pastor described people being floored because suddenly the disciples were speaking to them in their own languages (i.e., so they could understand and become followers). Amazing stuff.
Pretty cool what is happening to you, as well.
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