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3 Steps To Doing What The Bible Says »« What is the Gift of Tongues?

What is the Interpretation of Tongues?

Generally tongues are languages that cannot be understood by the hearer. However Paul talks about tongues being explained to everyone by an interpreter. Many years ago I asked God for the gift of interpretation and began interpreting tongues.

Tongues should be interpreted as prayers

Paul argues that the purpose of speaking in tongues is to speak to God. This indicates to me that an interpretation will not be in the form of God speaking to us. Rather the interpretation will be in the form of a prayer. In my experience this isn’t so much a personal prayer but a prayer that gives insight into the heart of his people towards him – our longings and frustrations, our rejoicing and thanksgiving.

How I began interpreting tongues

After seeking God for the gift of interpretation I found that often when I spoke in tongues I began to understand what I was saying. It wasn’t that I now knew the language and could now translate anything I heard in it. But when I spoke I felt that I intuitively knew what it was about.

In my own devotional times I began to speak in tongues and then speak out what I felt I had said. The next step was to speak out in tongues when we came together as a church and then to interpret that tongue. Also as I listened to other people who spoke in tongues I found that I had similar experiences of understanding. So when people spoke out in tongues I started to also come forward directly after they had and speak out what I believed they had said. It was great to be in a church where there was freedom to do this.

Can we use interpretation in mission?

I have already found that speaking in tongues throughout the day helps guide my silent prayers. I wonder if the next step is to offer to pray with my non-Christian friends when they have a need. Praying silently in tongues to myself first and then praying out the interpretation.

October 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm
1 comment »
  • October 27, 2012 at 6:42 pmJackie

    I wanted to comment on your tongues writings. I am charismatic. Even after many years as a believer and then as a charismatic believer (I became charismatic 3 years after being born again), it is only most recently that I have learned from the Lord much more about tongues than I thought we could even know.

    The first thing I learned is that I can ask for an interpretation of the tongues I am praying. It was such a great moment.

    It happened when my husband came back from a men’s retreat where in his own quiet moment alone (not directed by the conference at all!) he decided for some reason to think about the tongues phrase he had been speaking for years. He was an erstwhile tongue pray-er. But at this conference he had praised in tongues a lot and had the time to think on it, so he did. He took his familiar tongues phrase and he decided to break it down word by word. He was familiar with some basic foreign languages so he took each word he heard in his tongue and was able to figure out that in a few different languages, his common tongue phrase that he tended to pray all the time was ‘I am not worthy of your love’. What was cool is that it was from French, Spanish, Latin and maybe one other language.

    I think that event spurred me to rethink how I prayed in tongues from then on. It was still a few years before I would have that kind of moment myself though, but it wasn’t decades at least :).

    My own situation was during a time when we both took a day to fast for a couple that were long time, strong Christian friends who were splitting up. It was a very bad time for them. Wife left, 8 kids, married 23 years, etc. So my husband and I decided on a fast day together. I was praying near the end of that day and asking the Lord for some word about this situation. I wanted some result from this fast so that is why I asked. And I did get one – for the husband. Then right after that, I prayed in tongues just for that couple and their situation. Immediately after that tongue praying for the couple, I prayed in my own words. And what I ended up praying was a most ELOQUENT and most BEAUTIFUL prayer constructed in a way I don’t even speak, and with words I do know, but had never put together in such a profound and lovely way. It was like a great writer wrote me a prayer and I just said it perfectly. I figured out then that the amazing prayer with the most eloquent construction was the interpretation of the tongues prayer I had just prayed specifically for that couple!

    Another thing I learned shortly after that was this: I was doing my night prayers as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. I typically would pray in tongues as I lay there with lights out and trying to fall asleep. One time I had such a large list of people that I had in mind to pray for and I wanted to get to them all. So I had this idea to think each name in my head and then do the tongues prayer and then move to the next person and continue like that – say their name in my head, quietly pray in tongues, until the list was done. I did this with several people. At some point I noticed that my tongue phrase was changing with each person. I had never noticed this before. It was quite distinct and noticeable change in tongue phrasing. I realized then that each person was getting their own unique prayer from God in a specific tongue. I didn’t ask for an interpretation then, but it was a huge learning moment for me. To this day I pray like that. I now pray very specifically for each person or topic or request in tongues.

    One last thing that I just remembered. I was praying in tongues and this was at a time that I had already learned all of this stuff I mentioned above. But I was just praying randomly in tongues as I will do. It wasn’t directed at anything or any person – just praying in tongues. As I was praying I kept getting distracted and would try to redirect myself back to praying. The distraction was the name of a person I know popped into my head and I thought they were a distraction because I wasn’t thinking of them and wasn’t praying for them and they were just making my mind wander. So I shook it off and finished up with that tongue praying session and carried on with my day. A short time later – a week or so, my husband out of the blue asked me about a person and just asked how they were doing. He asked a specific question about their financial state. It was THEN that I realized why I was distracted during that recent tongue praying. The person who kept wandering into my praying session was the person my husband was asking about! I realized then that it was God having me pray for the guy (Steve) when I thought I was just distracted. And the result was that my husband brought him up out of the blue later. We concluded that together, with the tongue and my husband’s ‘random’ mention of Steve, that we were supposed to help them financially. We found out that he and his wife were both chronically sick at that time, the housing market pummeled his business, and they just really were in dire financial straits with 4 kids at home and no one working. We ended up helping and it was pretty inspiring to have it all unfold like that.

    I just wanted to share all that about tongues because your writings on tongues seem to welcome such sharing. I am still to this day totally inspired by those events. I learned from them and have been able to pray in a better way for people because of all those things I learned. So glad God showed my husband what his tongues meant! :). Hope that helped someone besides me.

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