First let’s start with a question. Have you ever experienced someone praying in a language that you don’t understand? I honestly can’t recall if prior to me being here I really got to experience that. I am certain that I heard prayer in other languages, but I am can’t recall experiencing prayer in another language. Now, the difference between “heard” and “experienced” might be semantics to many, but let me give you an example of what I mean by the two. Let’s say I have a young, very energetic and boisterous daughter. Let’s call her “Olivia” just for story sake. Now let’s say that “Olivia” is getting a little rowdy some place where that behavior is not appropriate. Now as I am standing at a distance from her I tell “Olivia” that she needs to settle down and be quiet. She hears me. Now same situation, but this time I take “Olivia” by the arm, I bend down to her level, I look her in the eye and I sternly tell her that she needs to settle down and be quiet. She hears me as she did in the other situation, but this time I think she is also experiencing what I am telling her. Prayer is no different and I think it can be heard and/or experienced.
I am blessed to weekly get the chance to experience prayer in a language I don’t understand. Sometimes it is in Xhosa, sometimes in Afrikaans and sometimes even in heavily accented English. Sometimes it is in staff devotions, sometimes it is in the communities we work and sometimes it is one on one. And I get to experience it a lot of the time from people who know how to pray. They aren’t just saying the words to the prayer, but rather crying them out to God as if he is sitting right next to them. I have NO clue what the words are that are being spoken and thus have NO clue the meaning of these strange syllables. But make no mistake I experience these prayers. You realize the power, in that, even though I don’t have a clue what is being said, God does. You feel the magnitude of the God we serve who understands all languages and knows when his children's hearts are crying out to him. You realize the power in that your personal savior is also the personal savior of all nations and all languages. You feel the transcending effect of connecting with other believers through an uncommon language which is more than often a disconnect. You intimately feel the power of prayer.