By Patrick Hawthorne
In Tongues…The Misunderstood Language (Part 1) I wrote that, in the Word, there are four distinct operations of tongues. Two are for personal edification and two are for public ministry. The two that are for personal edification involve man speaking to God while the other two involve God speaking through man to man. As a reminder, the four operations are,
- Tongues for personal edification (Man speaking to God)
- Tongues for intercession (Man speaking to God)
- Gift of Tongues with Interpretation (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
- Tongues for a sign to unbelievers (God speaking through man to man – Public Ministry)
In this post I would like to explain why I believe it is to every believer’s benefit to speak in a prayer language. Please note that I am only addressing the first two operations of speaking in tongues that are used for personal edification or for intercession.
Even Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” Obviously, the answer to these questions is “No.” However, in light of learning that there are four distinct operations, he is referring to tongues for public ministry.
As for tongues for personal edification his response is, “I wish you all spoke with tongues…” (1 Corinthians 14:5.) I understand that not all will agree with me. That is fine. We can agree to disagree while at the same time remain brothers or sisters in Christ.
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries (spiritual truths.)
(1 Corinthians 14:1-2 NKJV underline/parenthesis mine).
When we pray in a prayer language (Tongues) – one that is specific to the individual as given by the Holy Spirit – we are able to pray out secrets that would have remained secret if not for the revelation by God. In other words, we are praying out God’s divine will and removing our own faulty thinking.
Let me give you an example. You are asked to pray for the marriage of John and Sally which has hit a rough patch. As you get alone in your prayer closet you begin to pray in the natural. “Lord, I pray that John and Sally are sensitive to the needs of each other. May they learn to rekindle their love for one another.”
That sounds like a good thing to pray, wouldn’t you agree? However, what if that is not their problem? What if their problem is that they are under spiritual attack by the enemy and need to spend more time as a couple in prayer to fix the problem?
By praying in tongues, we become the vessel by which the Holy Spirit pin points, with laser like precision, the specific thing that needs to be prayed. This language is pure and undefiled. Therefore, we can know that we know that what is prayed in the Spirit is in accordance to God’s will.
This may sound spooky to some but I assure you it is not. Praying in tongues is completely voluntary. God will not suddenly take over your mouth in the middle of Walmart and have you ranting like a raving lunatic down isle three. Never forget that He is a gentleman and a God of order. Just as you have the choice to pray in the natural, you have the choice to pray in the supernatural. Unfortunately, many have taken such a precious gift and have made a mockery of it by behaving like complete lunatics. That is another subject for another time.
In my next post my plan is to go back to the Garden of Eden and explain why I personally believe God chose Tongues as a way of communication for these latter days. Until then, be blessed.