God's Kingdom without Borders

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God's Kingdom without Borders

Praying in [Heart] Tongues

A few days before this writing, a Vine ministry training group I’m in experienced a serendipitous delight: people prayed in tongues–heart tongues, that is.
Here’s how it unfolded. This particular group–or “cluster,” as we call them–includes speakers of at least four languages (five, if Canadian-style English counts…eh?). Our agenda called for each of us to explain our prospective 4-6 month action plan, receive constructive feedback from the cluster to make it clearer and more focused, and then receive prayer from the group as we each prepare to go out and work the plan. One of our women, as she settled into the prayer “hot seat,” almost offhandedly asked a pastor who is one of our four Bhutanese Nepali participants to “please pray for me in Nepali,” which very thing he proceeded to do (along with the rest of us English pray-ers). As we progressed through other presentations, other members of the Nepali-speaking group–now permitted and emboldened–spontaneously offered up more prayers in their heart language, and with great passion! Then a Samoan pastor in the group, who has never used his language in our sessions before, spontaneously offered up a prayer in Samoan. I wasn’t sure what all we had unleashed here–and I’m still not sure–but I liked it! So did everyone else. We English speakers even found ourselves amening and yes-Lording out loud along with these non-English prayers, the content of which we hadn’t the faintest idea about (that’s “aboot” for our Canadian-speaker)! It didn’t matter. Our hearts throbbed together for the glory and grace and power of the Lord Jesus to get manifest through each of these fellow-servants and their action plans.
As I reflect on this experience, I must say I noticed a qualitative difference in the fervor, heart-engagement and perhaps the focus of the Nepali and Samoan pray-ers when they weren’t shackled by the need to pray outside their heart language. But I think the real crux was when our Anglophone sister signaled not only permission for but also a real, authentic embrace of the heart-tongue of our Bhutanese Nepali brothers and sisters: in effect, her simple request communicated “Your language is as valued before the Throne as ours. I embrace you and honor you in Christ, heart-tongue and all!” And once our [linguistically] diverse friends felt, really felt, so honored and embraced, well, it seemed like all heaven broke loose!
For me (and I doubt I’m alone), it was quite a moment of epiphany. What do you make of all this?–thoughts, responses, your own experiences?

Dave Rowe

Posted in Multicultural on 14 March 2013

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