Praying in Tongues: Why Bother?

Since the beginning of the 20th century much has been written about praying in tongues, either in support of it or against it. Today, praying in tongues continues to generate controversy within the Body of Christ. Those who object to praying in tongues often fall into the camp of cessationists who believe that most, if not all, of the spiritual (miraculous) gifts mentioned in the New Testament ceased with the death of the Apostles. I beg to differ. I don’t see how anyone can read the New Testament and arrive at such a conclusion.

Faith in God’s willingness to give us the spiritual gifts is what may have ceased among Christians, but the gifts themselves haven’t ceased. Having been involved with Charismatic spirituality for about seventeen years, I’m aware that abuses do occur regarding use of the spiritual gifts. But this doesn’t mean that the spiritual gifts have ceased or are no longer relevant. On the contrary, if there ever was a generation that needed the spiritual gifts the most, it is ours. The Holy Spirit, as in the days of the Apostles, is still in the business of distributing spiritual (miraculous) gifts to equip and build up the Church.

What I intend to do in this series is add my voice to the existing conversation. I’ll keep it simple. I’ll share insights based on the Bible as well as insights from my personal experience of praying in tongues. I’ll limit myself to addressing the practice of  praying in tongues, specifically the private prayer of the believer. My hope is that what I share here will shed extra light on the subject and inspire more Christians to welcome and use the gift of praying in tongues.

Before I get into the benefits of praying in tongues, I think you’ll appreciate the value of this gift better if we go over certain basic truths about who God is, who you are in Him and how you were designed to function. It’s as follows:

You are a spirit. Therefore, the spirit world is your natural habitat. The spirit realm is your headquarters. You’re at your best when you function in the spirit and from the spirit. That’s how God designed you. Unfortunately, from our infancy, most of us have been conditioned to function predominantly within the confines of space and time and what our natural senses can perceive. The truth is, there are many levels to what we call “reality.” As God’s child, when you operate in the spirit, you’re operating at God’s level of reality, which is the highest form of reality.

You also need to understand that things in the spirit are superior to things in the natural world. Therefore, spirit realities can influence and override natural realities. For example, for every disease in the natural world, there’s a cure in the spirit world. The spirit world is a world of unlimited resources and infinite possibilities. The more you operate from your spirit (rather than from your natural senses), the more you expand your range of access to spiritual blessings.

Your power source is in your spirit. Consequently, your overall success as a child of God depends on how well you allow your spirit to influence your thinking and your decision making.

God is a spirit (John 4:24). The Bible calls God, “the Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9). God is a spirit and He gives birth to spirits. We, His children, are spirits (John 3:6). This means God brought you forth from the same ‘divine substance’ which makes Him God.

Here’s a summary of the main points from this introduction:

You and God have a lot in common. A key point which stands out is that God is spirit and so are you. This means God prefers to interact with you on a spirit-to-spirit level. Likewise, He prefers that you interact with Him based on realities of the spirit (John 4:23-24).

God approaches life from a spirit perspective, and He wants you to do the same. When you and God are on the same page, i.e. looking at things from a spirit perspective, success is inevitable. The Good News is, God has freely made available to you enough tools to help you succeed in this endeavor. This is where the gift of praying in tongues comes in; remember, an effective prayer life is (absolutely) essential to your growth and your relationship with the Father.

With this foundation in mind, I believe you’ll better appreciate why God has given us the ability to pray to Him in a spirit language, i.e. in tongues. In my subsequent posts, I’ll begin to talk about the benefits of praying in tongues.

Until then, may God strengthen you with might in your inner man. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ogoe

When a Christian Husband Says, “I Do”

Daily Devotional: Day 162

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).

Christian marriage is no ordinary relationship. Anything directly related to Jesus Christ is not ordinary; it’s sacred. By comparing Christian marriage with the covenant relationship between Jesus and the Church, the Bible is basically saying that Christian marriage is a supernatural union with supernatural implications.

Christian marriage is a divine pairing. The wife is to the husband what the Church is to Christ; and the husband is to the wife what Jesus is to the Church. Yesterday, we looked briefly at what God expects from the wife, which is, submission to her husband. Today, it’s the husband’s turn. Look carefully at today’s Bible passage. It looks like a simple statement – and it is – but the implications of the statement are profound.

God wants husbands to love their wives. We know that a lot of husbands love their wives. That’s commendable. Yet, God isn’t talking about just any form of love, because there are different kinds of love and different ways of loving people. God is speaking to husbands about a specific form of love. He wants husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. This is the standard by which God expects the husband to love his wife. 

When a Christian husband says, “I do,” he is saying, “I will love you the way Jesus loved the Church.” When he says to his wife, “I love you,” he must mean “I love you with the love Jesus has for the Church.” This means the husband must, first of all, be someone who knows Jesus, because you can only mirror someone you know and understand. The same is true for the wife; she can only mirror the Church if she understands the role of the Church toward Jesus. The husband must, therefore, make Jesus his marriage Mentor and Counselor. No amount of marriage counseling, marriage retreats or marriage workshops can replace the husband’s need to imitate Jesus. It is a great honor bestowed on the husband, to be called to be the reflection of Jesus in the marriage.

Just as Jesus is head of the Church, the husband, too, is head of the wife, and consequently. he needs to be an effective and reliable head. Jesus doesn’t lead the Church astray. The husband must not hesitate to lead his wife or be indecisive. It is his God-given role, and he needs to take it seriously. As head of the wife, it is his duty of love and duty of care to watch over the spiritual growth of his wife and indeed of the entire household – if they have children. To do this, the husband will do well to be prayerful, grounded in God’s Word and and able to discern.

Let’s recall the story of Adam and Eve. Adam had the responsibility of watching over his wife. When he realized that Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, his duty was to intervene, intercede for his wife and consult God about what could be done to save her. Instead, he neglected his role of spiritual leadership and shared in his wife’s error. Christian husbands should learn from Adam’s story. It’s important for them to remember that God has made them the spiritual head of their household. Material care is important, but the greatest act of love a husband can show his wife is not the provision of expensive vacation trips, fancy shoes and clothing, expensive rings, etc., but to see to the wife’s spiritual growth through prayer, study of God’s Word and training in godliness

God bless Christian husbands with a spirit of leadership, discernment, courage and prosperity. Amen.

For further study: 1 Samuel 1:1-28