Praying in Tongues: Freedom and Joy

Author: Fr. Andy Richardson

Picture: The Blue Diamond Gallery

Praying in Tongues: Freedom and Joy

Fr. Andy Richardson shares his story of how the gift of tongues has inspired, helped and encouraged him.

I first encountered the gift of tongues when I was going through a very challenging time. My friend, Simon Penhalagan, offered to pray with me.

During the prayer, I heard him making sounds I had never really heard before. At the end of the prayer, I asked him: “What were those sounds you were making?” 

He explained he had been praying for me in tongues. That prayer time, and many prayer times like it, helped me to persevere in difficult times through seminary.

I received the gift of tongues myself during a summer camp at the Sion Community. Simon and Fr Ged Kelly prayed with me to receive this gift.

I subsequently discovered, during praise and worship, that I could now join in with singing in tongues, with praise of God rising from my heart. It was a very freeing experience.

Feeling Out of My Depth

While praying in tongues in a group is beautiful, I have also discovered the power of praying in tongues in my private prayer, which opens the door to other gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In 2015, I became a companion of the heart with Cor et Lumen Christi Community in Chertsey, not far from my presbytery in Burnham, Slough.

During the 2015 Celebrate conference in Ilfracombe, Devon, I had the privilege of ministering with the community in prophecy sessions, which were being offered to anyone who wanted to sign up.

We were in teams, and all we knew were the person’s initials, and whether they were male or female.  Having never done this before, I felt completely out of my depth.

I had been taught how the gift of tongues can open us up to further gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophecy. Therefore, I prayed in tongues privately for thirty minutes prior to sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in silence, hoping to receive some inspiration.

Love And Encouragement

To my surprise, the words and images began to flow for the people for whom I was praying.

To my even greater surprise, many of the words and images were relevant, and spoke the Lord’s love and encouragement to the people for whom they were intended.

I have experienced the Lord ministering to me personally when I have prayed in tongues.

One time, when I felt very tired and down at the end of a long day in Kettering as assistant parish priest, I decided to sit quietly in church and pray in tongues.

I found myself singing in tongues for an extended period of time, with different melodies coming out of my heart to God.  By the end of that prayer time, I felt completely transformed, full of peace and joy.

In a very personal way, I had experienced the words of scripture: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

  • Fr. Andy Richardson is parish priest of Our Lady of Peace parish, Slough.

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