In verse 1 Paul said that we should all desire to prophesy, and in verse 2 he gives us the reason: “For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to men, but to God: for no man understands him; howbeit in the spirit he speaks mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2).
This chapter tells us that a message in tongues with interpretation equals prophecy. But here Paul is talking about a personal prayer language, not a message in tongues to a group, which should be interpreted. When a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a spiritual language flows out of him/her. This is a language that the speaker does not understand. It is not gibberish, it is a heavenly language. When a person prays in this language, also known as “praying in the Spirit”, the prayer by-passes the speaker’s understanding. We do not know what we are praying, because it is our inner spirit that prays.
That kind of prayer does not need interpreted for others to hear, because it is not meant for their ears. I think it is appropriate to pray that God would interpret my prayers back to me, but not to others. Often when I pray in my prayer language, I will follow it by praying in English and often surprise myself by what I’m praying. That’s because God is revealing to my mind what my spirit just prayed in tongues. This is what Paul means when he says, “in the spirit he speaks mysteries”.
I encourage you to use your prayer language liberally. Put whatever emotion you feel into it. Then, after you have “prayed through”, pray in English and see what the Lord reveals to you in your prayer. And let me know how that goes.
Tags: mystery, spiritual gifts, tongues
Years ago I was the youth director of the Waterloo Church of Christ. Anita and I lived in an old farmhouse just out of town. One fall evening we had a youth event with a wiener roast and hayride and invited young people from other churches, as well. At one point a male leader from another church came to me and asked, “Do you have a restroom?” What a ridiculous question, but thought I’d work that a little bit.
There was an old outhouse still sitting in the backyard that was no longer in use. The farmer sometimes used this while he was working the fields. He had an old worn out pair of bib overalls thrown in there in case he might need them.
So, I replied to the young man, “Sure,” and pointed to the outhouse. His head kind of dropped and he headed off for the outhouse. I said, “Knock on the door first because I think someone might be in there.”
Then I watched as he walked to the outhouse and knocked on the door. With no answer, he opened the door and stepped inside. He looked at the bib overalls laying on the floor and tried to figure out what had just happened. When he turned around to look at me, he found me doubled over in laughter. What do you think might have been going through his head?
Tags: humor, mystery, outhouse, prank
Ephesians 1:9-10 says, “And He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
It is the action of the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) to reveal God’s truth to us who believe. And this spiritual blessing is that he has revealed this truth to us: “the mystery of His will…which He purposed in Christ”. In other words, the mystery of God’s will was that we be redeemed and have life in Christ. When Jesus prayed in the Garden “Father, if there’s any other way, let this cup pass from me”, there was no “other way” but God’s purpose. Yet Christ was resolved to submit to that purpose.
Note, also, that it was God’s “good pleasure” to see His Son go to the cross so that you and I could be redeemed. That’s how much He loves us. The revealing of that love comes day by day.
How has God revealed His love for you lately?
Tags: mystery, purpose