Last week, I received this email from someone in the church:
I experienced something on Monday, while fasting, that I wanted to share with you. I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just say it. On Monday afternoon, I closed my eyes and prayed aloud that the Lord would loosen my tongue so that I could pray to him those things on my heart that I didn’t know how to pray. Almost immediately, I began praying out loud in a language that I didn’t understand. It lasted less than a minute and I felt a sensation, like a tingling, in my hands and arms as they were outstretched. It took me by surprise, and I almost didn’t believe it had actually happened. I continued to pray out loud, in English, and then, once more, asked for my tongue to be loosened and my heart opened to receive whatever the Lord would deliver. I prayed to be emptied of me and filled with the Holy Spirit. Again, right away, I began to pray aloud in what sounded to my ears like a foreign language. This time, it lasted for several minutes and I felt like my heart was laid open and cleared out. The range of emotions I went through while in this prayer was amazing…joy, fear, mourning, pleading, anger, peace. I laughed and cried. It was all there. I couldn’t believe it. The Sunday that you preached on speaking and praying in tongues, I wanted to go up to the altar to pray to receive this gift, but didn’t. Was I embarrassed? Felt I wasn’t worthy? I don’t know. I have had a desire for this gift, but never proclaimed it out loud the way I did all alone and out loud on Monday afternoon. And God met me there…He heard my prayer. Hallelujah!
I wanted to share this with you to let you know how much I appreciate your courage in preaching on the power of the Holy Spirit. I long for more of Him and less of me in my life and over the past few weeks have really felt His presence more poignantly than I have in a long time. To have been open enough to receive this gift of a prayer language is huge and I just praise God.
So why did we devote an entire Sunday to teaching on the gift of praying in tongues? Why did I even say something so bold (or reckless) as “what Paul wanted for the Corinthian church, I want for you” — that you would all pray in tongues? Why did we have a church-wide fast last Monday?
So the movement of the Holy Spirit would happen in people’s lives just like this.
That’s why we do what we do.