“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Cor 14:13-15)
Dearly beloved, every New Year I set out to do one thing – deepen my communion with God our Father. Like many of you, I fall so short of where I feel I should be in my prayer life. To stir myself, I love to read books on prayer and biographies on men of deep prayer. Once my hunger is stirred my prayer life increases.
In the final days of 2013 I went into my archives and listened to an audio teaching from 25 years ago on conversational prayer by the late Kenneth E. Hagin. Every time I listen to this teaching, my desire to know God immediately swells up within me. Dad Hagin, as so many affectionately called him, is one of two spiritual fathers I’ve ever had. He is the greatest man of prayer I’ve ever known. In the audio he not only teaches, but demonstrates how to pray in dialogue with God.
Recently we made this teaching available to those on our Prayer Jotter email list, but it is always with caution lest people get carried away and attempt to pray this way in the flesh. Often even sincere people who are genuinely hungry to know God can become insensible and even weird through misunderstanding such teachings. In this audio teaching Hagin takes a few minutes to expound on how he cultivated conversational prayer with God in his own life, clearly stating that it did not happen overnight.
While warning people not to misunderstand conversational prayer and attempt to manufacture praying this way in the flesh, Hagin also inspires the people not to communicate with God religiously, but as a Father and a friend. As was his custom, Dad also injects humor on how a Pentecostal pastor overheard him praying this way in his room one time, and told others how “Hagin prays the funniest prayers I’ve ever heard” and how he talks to himself. Such a statement from a Pentecostal pastor reveals the ignorance of what even some ministers understand of real prayer.
Last year was a year of growth and development in both my wife and I in praying this way. It seemed to me like we received more revelation in one year than all the years of our Christian lives put together. We filled an entire journal full of notes of the enlightment and understanding we received in prayer from the Spirit of truth. Our prayer times were marked by these heavenly communications and inspired utterances that produced joy and faith in our hearts even in the midst of challenges. Repeatedly I found myself reaching for pen and paper, and often a recorder when I couldn’t scribe fast enough.
The first step toward praying conversationally with the Father is to be baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. It is amazing to me how many religious wars have been fought over the subject of tongues. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since it is a mighty weapon that the devil would love to dissolve entirely from the Church. Churches and Christians who have swallowed the lie that tongues are not for today, or not for them, have been dealt a severe blow from the enemy.
Isn’t it interesting that the first question the apostle Paul asked the disciples at Ephesus was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:1). Paul ministered to them through the laying on of hands and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied (v 6). This is God’s will for all saints.
Listen to the words of John G. Lake, that mighty apostle to South Africa in the early 1900’s, describe what praying in tongues meant to him:
“I want to talk with the utmost frankness and say to you that tongues have been to me the making of my ministry. It is that peculiar communication with God when God reveals to my soul the truth I utter to you day by day in my ministry. But that time of communication with me is mostly in the night. Many a time I climb out of bed, take my pencil and pad, and jot down the beautiful things of God, the wonderful things of God that He talks out in my spirit, reveals to my heart.”
My friends, you can experience that kind of life in God if you will seek after Him. It all begins with receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues extensively. I will share how I came into the experience of that same peculiar communication with God where He talks to my spirit through the interpretation of tongues.
Stay tuned for more in our next blog. Start your year off right by stirring your faith to seek God and to hear from Him.