Read Part 1, part 2 part 3, part 4, and part 5.
This is the retelling of a talk I gave in April. I have previously given a Scriptural background to charismatic prayer, given my own witness, and described two elements of charismatic prayer that differ in some ways from traditional Catholic prayer.
Often those observing the charismatic community who have not experienced the release or stirring up of the Holy Spirit, would imagine that the total of charismatic prayer would have only to do with the particular prayer form that is called glossolalia, a synonym for the gift of tongues. In Romans 5:26-27 Paul says, "the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groaning. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will."
There are two variations of glossolalia. Praying in tongues is best described as a series of unintelligible utterances. These utterances are defined by charismatics as the human soul crying out in joy as it encounters God. These utterances are jubilation. Prayer in tongues is unintelligible to all but God. I call it my prayer language. The second variation is called speaking in tongues. It can be defined as prophecy, whereby, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the person speaks in a foreign language or tongue which is unknown by the speaker, but can be understood or interpreted by another member of the congregation or prayer community.
Both forms of tongues are referred to in Scripture and were practiced by the early church. Throughout the New Testament there are references to tongues and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of all the charisms, the gift of tongues is the only one that is for the edification and personal growth of the individual. St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:5 "Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues." Throughout 1 Corinthians Paul urges believers to strive for the spiritual gifts to build up the church. The other charisms are largely for the use of the whole community of believers to build up the kingdom of God. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are drawn closer to Christ and through the charisms we are given, we draw others to salvation in Christ also.
Thus ends part 6. (Only one more part of my April talk.) Next Wednesday I finish this background on charismatic prayer.