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Praying in 'Tongues'
The apostle who said "I urge you, then, be imitators of me" also said in the same letter
"I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you" (1 Cor.4:16; 14:18).
— ITS REAL VALUE FOR ALL GOD'S PEOPLE EVERYWHERE
FOR YOU TODAY
 
It has been
seen as a special characteristic of the Pentecostal movement, and sometimes thought of as a special endowment or gift by many that practice it. This is unfortunate for the Bible puts it in a very different light.
 
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It did not exist in all human history before Christ’s Jerusalem works on our behalf were completed, namely:
His Atonement   for our redemption;
His Resurrection   for our spiritual regeneration/new life;
His Ascension   for our representation before the Father; and
the Gift of the Spirit   for the continuance of His ministry through us from Pentecost 'till He comes again.
 
Speaking
in 'tongues began on that Day of Pentecost.
 
 
The Bible says that Jesus, having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, poured out what the street-crowd on the Day of Pentecost were seeing and hearing (Ac.2:33). What were they ‘seeing and hearing’?
 
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They were ‘seeing and hearing’ Galilean disciples of Jesus excitedly praising God in languages that they had not learned, but which Jews from foreign countries understood, even though the content of the languages was not addressed to them. They heard God being praised!
 
Years
later, the Apostle Paul made the point that this supernatural speaking in tongues, or any other supernatural gift of God, is no substitute for the motivation of godly love, even if the inspired language itself is ‘angelic’ (1 Cor.13:1). But then Paul says that he himself practiced this ‘tongues’-prayer himself more than all the Christians in the Corinthian church –
"I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you."
1 Corinthians 14:18.
Why? What for?  
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He explains that, as prayer, its purpose is for building oneself up, or spiritual strengthening (1 Cor.1:2, 4); which will also mean being in-tune with God's attitude to issues as this practice of tongues-prayer continues. How?
 
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He describes it as speaking "mysteries in the Spirit" (on the issues of God's concern) and that this is an action of the human spirit as distinct from the human mind (1 Cor.14:14). Hysteria? No! Paul is describing personal prayer that goes beyond the comprehensible in the intimacy of our relationship to God because of the Gift of His Spirit.
 
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Note that: chapter 14 of First Corinthians is written about order in the church’s meetings. It is not about gifts of the Holy Spirit. That was summarized in its chapter 12. Chapter 13 dealt with motivation in ministry, and chapter 14 about not losing unity of direction in church meetings, or excluding the outsider. It is not advice. It is instruction – God’s command (1 Cor.14:37), for we are told that even if a church leader says otherwise he is to be disregarded and his ministry not recognised (14:38). So this is serious stuff!
 
So,
if tongues is not usually for church meetings, why would Paul personally do so much of it himself?
 
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As he said: for personal strengthening, praying ‘mysteries’ (beyond the human mind) in the Holy Spirit (i.e. as God chooses). Remember that although we live in God’s world, this is enemy-occupied territory – by a clever and powerful enemy.
 
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It is to be expected then that if there is any place where the Spirit of God is going to inspire and shape our unconscious attitudes it will be during prayer. Prayer is the heart of our practical relationship to God.
 
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But prayer means more than speaking our thoughts to Him who knows everything. Prayer is caring about issues. Prayer means meeting God on His terms.
Prayer is interactive, which is why the Spirit of God was given to His people, for –
“we do not know what to pray for as we ought,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep
[within us] for [known] words”
Romans 8:26.
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So remember that, although in our horizontal relationship to others we always differ from each other by God’s unique design for each of us, in our vertical relationship to God there is absolutely no discrimination. In relation to God. Therefore, that which is for one is equally for all; for there truly is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Eph.4:5).
 
There is nothing in the experience of personal prayer by anyone anywhere which excludes you, for there is no hierarchy 'in Christ'.  
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Yes, Christ did not pray in tongues, for He bore no damage within the structures of His human mind from the subtleties of sin.
We do. We all do. But, the representation of the Holy Spirit's anointing upon Him as a 'dove'* was because the new relationship of humanity to God began in Him. This new relationship of His humanity to God therefore began for all His disciples at that Pentecost in 30 AD when the Holy Spirit was given to all 'in Christ'.
*As the dove of Noah indicated that
the old was past and the new had come.
So, as
Christ's equipping for His ministry flowed directly from the intimacy of His devotional relationship to God –
"The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.
Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens My ear to hear as those who are taught."
So we also!
Isaiah 50:4.
Christ's regular
early-morning devotion
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For no less a purpose then did tongues-prayer begin on that day of Pentecost. The Spirit's work was however now represented as flames of fire for this was the empowering to continue what had begun in Jesus Christ. And it has never stopped, even when totally lost from our sight, either in church practice or in its theology!
Acts 2:3-4.
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Accordingly, no one today should be regarded as fit for a leadership ministry among Christ's disciples who is not an example in the practice of this special intimacy of prayer through tongues in the Holy Spirit!
 
The
minimum qualification given to us in the Bible record for those who were to manage the first church's daily food-distribution to their widows was that they must be "full of the Spirit" (Ac.6:3 ESV). Surely then, any ministry more responsible than this should require no less than this in the individual's practical relationship to the same Holy Spirit; and the Bible shows us that this practice involves personal-tongues-prayer.
 

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