…My goddaughter, McKenzie, asked me the last time she spent the night, while my husband and I prayed over her and our children before bed.
This week’s assignment was to write on our personal spiritual gift. I’ve already written on some of my other gifts, earlier on in the series. However, I didn’t get to write on my favorite, the gift of tongues.
Perhaps, it’s my favorite because of how long I waited for it. It tends to increase the value of something precious whenever there is a prolonged waiting period. Because the church I grew up in didn’t recognize spiritual gifts, it took a long time for my heart to open up to this concept.
We began attending Church of the Highlands in January of 2006; the church that opened my heart to embracing these gifts. It would take me at least another year before I would allow my heart to be open and then ask to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but another THREE years before I’d release my prayer language.
I’d prayed a few times before for the baptism, always with the intention of receiving the gift of tongues, my prayer language, when I did. But it was always with doubt lacing the prayer, and still I uttered nothing. However, I remember the morning that something in me broke, all doubt vanquished. I wanted my prayer language. I requested my small group leader pray with me to receive it and I sat ready to release my heavenly language….but it didn’t come.
Fast forward to the LIFE (FREEDOM) retreat conference in December 2010. During the last session of the conference, they invite you up to have someone pray with you to receive the baptism. I went up because I still wanted my prayer language. The prayer team member, Diane, that I was directed to was positioned right in front of the stage, directly in front of where my husband was playing worship on stage. She shared how speaking in tongues is like when a baby learns to talk, they start by saying syllables, and that’s what I needed to do. It was then that I came to terms with what had been holding me back. I heard myself say, “I want it and I believe it’s real, BUT if I’m going to do it, God’s gotta come down and make my lips start moving!” My block revealed! I hadn’t accepted that in order to release the gift I’d received, I had to be the one to release it!
I saw Diane grin, then she shared how that had been the same hold up she had before she released her language and she knew exactly how to pray with me. With a very authoritative tone she looked at me and said, “Just say ‘Da da!” I was shocked by that but immediately felt myself compelled to submit and do as she said. So I did. And within a matter of seconds, my whole body felt warm and I could feel myself engulfed in overwhelming love as the subtle sounds I released went from being that of my own intent to that of the Holy Spirit’s. I began to cry joyously and uncontrollably as this language that I know full well wasn’t of my own mind, burst from my lips. I had looked up past Diane, who was rejoicing, to see my Jeremy crying celebratory tears too as he got to witness me release the long awaited gift. This memory is etched in my brain forever.
I remember Diane telling me to hang onto it, because I would leave that day and the enemy would try to tell me that it wasn’t real; that it was just gibberish or made up. But I’ll never forget her saying that I could know it was real because it’s humanly impossible to have two intentional thoughts at the same time, which is exactly what happens when you use your prayer language. For example, you can’t sing your favorite song out loud AND silently in your head try to make your grocery list. (Go ahead, try it!) But when you pray in the spirit, you can pray out loud and pray in your understanding in your head simultaneously. She was right. Because I was determined to keep this precious gift, I have used my prayer language every single day since.
My children are quite familiar with my prayer language. They even try to imitate it, in their sweet innocence. Every night, we conclude the day by covering our babies in prayer as they go to bed; Jeremy praying in our understanding, and me in the spirit. Because we know the Spirit is praying the perfect prayer on our behalf.
“No, sweet McKenzie, that wasn’t Spanish. That was me praying in the heavenly language that God gifted to me.”
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Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing, reading, and traveling. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.