Today I want to share with you a practical prayer tip that has really helped me grow this year. As Mamas we all need to be refreshed, recharged and refocused. Sometimes it’s hard to put that time aside to intentionally do that. Praying in unknown tongues as referred to by various apostles throughout the New Testament has become invaluable to me for staying fresh. This may not be a topic that you’ve ever looked into, or it may be something you’ve vaguely heard about. Wherever you sit on this topic, would you be willing to give me a few minutes to share my experience and a few Scriptures that have helped me make up my mind on this?
Praying in unknown tongues is not a topic I was even aware existed though I grew up in a Charismatic, bordering on Pentecostal family. Mum had us well-versed in Genesis and the old Testament Prophets, and in memorising Scripture but somehow the theology of praying in tongues never arose.
My first exposure to praying in tongues came on my six week mission trip to Papua New Guinea with my Dad when I was 14. The team leader was asking members of the team to share as a testimony of when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, and Dad and I both realised I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Dad had a lot of theology to explain that afternoon during the team rest time.
About a week after this initial conversation, I was prayed for by one of our team members in one of the revival meetings we were holding. The presence of God was very powerful that night and many people were touched by the Holy Spirit, however I did not start speaking in tongues at that meeting.
The team leader told me to have a shower when I got home and to start speaking out praise to God and that if different words came to me, to let them come out, they would be a prayer language. That’s exactly what happened, and though at the time I really didn’t understand much about praying in tongues, it did revolutionise my life. I went from a shy teenager who wouldn’t say grace in public to spontaneously preaching to a crowd of 500 people on that mission trip.
My husband always says that you need to test the fruit, and this is a Scriptural principal, that you shall know them by their fruit. Would you call boldness to preach the Gospel, bad fruit?
This is a similar experience to Peter, who was afraid and denied Christ. (Mark 14:72)
After the 40 days in the upper room, where they waited for the promise of Holy Spirit as Jesus told them, (Luke 24:49) Peter came out with boldness and declared the Gospel to the crowd who had gathered because they heard Galileans speaking in foreign languages.
I encourage you to read Acts 2, to really understand how Peter was impacted and the full force of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.
Throughout the New Testament Paul encourages believers to pray, and makes many references to praying in unknown tongues for personal edification.
1 Cor 14:4
A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.
The word strengthen here, to put into a modern term is like charging a battery, or building yourself up in your most holy faith.
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
Praying in tongues is a complex topic in many circles, and I’m not here to give all the answers, I’m not a theologian. Two great resources for understanding this is John Bevere’s DVD Intimacy with the Holy Spirit, and Dave Roberson. If you’ve only ever heard that praying in tongues was for the apostles, these men look deep into the original Greek to shed some light on what these texts mean.
Now that we’ve covered those bases, I’m going to share how making praying in tongues a daily discipline for 15 minutes at a time has really revolutionised my prayer time. Before I implemented this discipline, I really struggled to focus on prayer, and praying regularly for anyone or anything. Yes, even this discipline was tricky to begin with, but now it comes much more easily.
- God gives us supernatural knowledge:
When I pray in tongues, God will bring to mind specific situations to pray for both in English and in tongues, situations that I would have no real knowledge about, in the natural, and I will pray for that person or thing until God reveals another area to pray for. I will often have a sense of what I am praying for, and a few days later find out that exactly what I was praying for happened in someone’s life.
When I’ve prayed for people in the Healing Rooms or prayer lines, I often don’t know how to pray effectively, so I begin by praying quietly in tongues until God gives me supernatural knowledge of how to pray for them.
- Praying in tongues reenergises and refocuses us:
God has many great and wonderful ideas for us, that He longs to impart to us, but sometimes we just aren’t still enough to listen. I often lie down with the toddler to help her get to sleep and I can quietly pray in tongues. This helps me to unwind, and I often have ideas come to me while I pray. Author John Bevere makes it a habit to pray in tongues before he writes to receive fresh revelation from God, and I also find this incredibly helpful for removing writer’s block.
- Praying in tongues prays in our destiny:
Often we know that God has a great big destiny for us but we don’t even know how to start praying it into our lives. We have been in situations where we really aren’t sure what the next step is for us to take, and after praying in tongues, God will give us an idea, a connection or plan to move forwards.
There is always more for us to find in God, just remember if you ask Him for bread, He isn’t going to give you a snake, He gives good gifts. This Scripture is in direct reference to the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
This is part of a 6 week Prayer Strategy and Study Series, where we lay a foundation for why, how and what we should pray. If you would like to sign up, you will also receive 6 prayer printables straight from the New Testament.