Monday, 21 June 2010
I don’t speak in tongues, have a prayer language, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t mind if other people have this ability, but I don’t want to. And when I say I don’t want to, I am not telling you I don’t understand how supposedly awesome having a prayer language is. I am actually telling you I simply don’t want it.
When I was little, I would always go and play out in the yard until being called in for dinner. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I had a tendency to murmur random words and make silly noises while I played. I don’t know why, just that I did. One day, some probably well-meaning Christian adult heard me making goofy noises while I played. That person told Dad, who then sat down with us and explained the idea of having a prayer language.
I had no clue what Dad told us. I was too little to really understand what was happening or what it had to do with me being silly during playtime. To me the silly noises were just that: silly noises that I did during play.
Later on, during junior high and high school, I attended a Foursquare church. Each summer from 2001 to 2005, I went to the summer camps. Sometime during the camp session, there would be a night set aside to get the kids to speak in tongues. The regular camp kids all knew it was coming. During the week, there would be pressure to get everyone to speak in tongues, which would get worse on the day chosen for pushing the kids into having a prayer language.
Finally in 2004, I caved to the pressure and went forward for the altar call to receive prayer languages. For some strange reason, the leader that I went to actually had me pray for myself. I came up with some fake prayer on the spot, making sure it would sound real to anyone who happened to hear it. Then I waited a couple minutes and listened in as other kids began to receive prayer languages.
Then it was time to mimic what I heard from others. It worked perfectly. No one knew that I was faking. I stopped faking my prayer language when I stepped away from that denomination in 2006.
Due to my experiences with both speaking in tongues and the Foursquare church, I don’t speak in tongues -- and I don’t trust that church.
Have you ever felt forced to worship a certain way? Do you think all people are required to speak in tongues, or is prayer and worship something that is different to each person?