Praying in Tongues

The Language is Not Always Unknown

My wife, Claire, could not understand why Lucia Molina suddenly talked so excitedly to her in Spanish. Claire had never learned this language!

The women's Tuesday prayer meeting had just finished, and Lucia, a native of Cuba, seemed to believe that her newly found American sister in Christ should be able to understand her quick, fiery Spanish. On the following Saturday, the only bilingual woman in the assembly came to Claire and explained the situation.

Ernestin Kittleman had talked to Lucia and discussed the problem. "Lucia said she noticed that you prayed in beautiful, fluent Spanish", she said. "You prayed for some Christians in China, called them by their names and asked the Lord's protection for them. That's not everything, Claire, you also sang a chorus in Spanish, so Lucia assumed that you sang in a language that you understand and that you prayed for a few people that you know."

Claire had prayed and sang in tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote:

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" 1 CORINTHIANS 14:14.

He also wrote:

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" ROMANS 8:26-27.

Spiritual Slides

Another lady in the Tuesday prayer group described an unusual experience she had received from the Lord on another occasion.

Dorothy Watson often prayed in tongues, just the same as in her native English. One day she became curious and asked the Lord to tell her what she was saying to Him while she was praying in tongues. The Lord answered by giving her a series of spiritual pictures, not unlike coloured slides projected onto a screen.

At first she saw a face, and then another one, and another in a continuous sequence, as long as she continued to pray in a language unknown to her. Some of the faces were those of people who were her acquaintances. Others were completely unfamiliar to her and indeed, were the faces of other nationalities, other races and cultures. However, as each of those faces appeared as visions before her, Dorothy knew that she was interceding for that person with the help of the Holy Spirit. This experience only happened to Dorothy once. It made her very happy and she didn't expect it to happen again.

Recently, from the other side of the world there came another testimony about a "language given by the Spirit", unknown to the speaker, but understood by one other member of the assembly. It concerns Sam Sasser, a missionary to the Marshall Islands. He visited a church in Tauranga, New Zealand. He explained what happened that evening:

"After about 20 minutes of praise and worship to the Lord in the service, one of the church elders fell into a strange position, in which he bent forwards, down to his waistline, while still standing. He started to sing in tongues and immediately caught my full attention because the language in which he was singing was a very clear Ratak Chain dialect of the Marshall Islands. When he had finished, he immediately began to weep. To be honest, I think he was a bit confused, as both his physical position and his singing in tongues happened in a way which was totally new to him.

The people stood there silently and only his deep sobbing could be heard in the service. Even though I had been working for more than 11 years with the language that was used and even though I was fully aware of what had been spoken, I held back under the urge of the Spirit and did not say anything.

The Pastor went up to the platform and with a very clear anointing of the Spirit he turned to the assembled congregation. "Friends", he said, "what we have just heard, is a victory song from somewhere in the Pacific Islands and the Lord wants to let us know that He is our conqueror and that we should take and keep the land by the Blood He has shed."

When I heard the interpretation, I was deeply stirred by the Spirit. What the Pastor had said, was in every respect in accordance with the message that had been given.

First of all, the movement of bending from the waistline in a standing position, is a physical manifestation, which as far as I can remember, was often practised by an elderly Pastor called Batunga on the Marshall Islands. The message in tongues had indeed been just that - a victory song. It was a victory song in which the key sentence "Moris-in quoj" was repeatedly used, and which is well known among the Marshall Islands' older people. It is a saying which is used for land or property which has been given to the family of a courageous soldier, who has shed his blood during battle.

I went to the platform to confirm the insight and interpretation of the Pastor and the whole assembly experienced the refreshing presence of the Lord."

Last year the psychologist H. Newton Maloney took part in writing a report, entitled "Speaking in Tongues", which was prepared for the theological Fuller Seminary. He said that it must be understood as a valid form of religious expression and not as a psycho-pathological symptom.

Of course, speaking in tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit is a truly religious expression. It is proven by both the New Testament and by the experiences of innumerable present-day believers.

Those who pray in tongues do not claim to be a certain elect kind of spiritual people. They are only simple Christians who let the Holy Spirit pray through them, in the way that He chooses. They regard praying in tongues as a privilege of someone who wishes to be used by the Holy Spirit in the office of intercession and they want to tell you about the joy of God's blessing they receive while doing this. Intercession then becomes a joyful mixture.

As Paul explained:

"Then what am I to do? I will pray with my spirit - (by the Holy Spirit that is within me) - but I will also pray - (intelligently) - with my mind and understanding..." 1 CORINTHIANS 14:15, Amplified.

During the last decade, the expression "prayer language" has come into common use in order to describe the phenomenon of speaking in tongues. The expression may be new, but the experience is as old as the New Testament:

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit..." JUDE 20, Amplified

by Pastor Caldwell, Glad Tidings Assembly, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.
Source: "Redemption Tidings"