This is a retelling of a presentation I made for some people at my church one Sunday morning in April. I am retelling this in parts on Wednesdays. Part I is here. Part II is here. So on to part III.
All we who call ourselves Christian and follow Christ have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptisms. Have you been to a Baptism lately? I am the Godmother of my five year old niece, Hannah. When Hannah was Baptized, although still a baby, she received the Holy Spirit, just as you and I did at our Baptisms. The Holy Spirit is a gift we receive at Baptism along with the removal of original sin. I have a friend who likens the gift of the Holy Spirit at Baptism to metaphoically receiving a gift in a beautiful box that we put up on a shelf in the closet because most of us are babies when we are Baptised and we aren't yet ready to open that gift. It isn't until later in our lives that we are ready to take down that gift box, open it up and see the gift of the Holy Spirit that are meant for us.
Whether we were Baptised as babies or perhaps received Baptism at an older age, at some point in our lives we need to open up those gifts of the Holy Spirit that were given to us. We need to let the Spirit within us awaken. For me, the awakening, the opening of the box, came at Confirmation. I cannot speak for the Confirmations of others, but perhaps because of the timing of my Confirmation which was near the conclusion the the Second Vatican Council, my preparation was all about the Holy Spirit. When I was Confirmed I had an expectant faith that the Holy Spirit would come to effect a change in me. I expected to be stirred in the Holy Spirit.
A few years later, I found myself in a circumstance whereby I desired a new way to pray. I had prayed all the prayers in my little Catholic prayer book. I said all the words on my own that I could think of, but I wasn't satisfied. I asked God for a new way, a better way to pray and I received a prayer language. I prayed that way and felt peaceful and calm in in the presence of God. I knew that it was what is described as "tongues" in the Bible. I felt a deep sense of joy and love for God when I prayed this way. I didn't cease prayer in other ways. Alone in my room at night I would pray in tongues. I kept my prayer language private.
Thus end part three of charismatic prayer. Tune in next week for the continuation of this series.