Lost for words

I became a Christian in September 1992 after a friend prayed for me in tongues.

When I heard her praying in a language I didn’t understand, I just thought she was bilingual. I grew up in a bilingual community in South Wales. I studied Welsh, French, Latin, German and English at school and I also studied German and English at University. The concept of  foreign languages wasn’t really ‘foreign’ to me.

After my friend had prayed, I asked her what language she had been speaking and that’s when I got the surprise of a lifetime – she just shrugged her shoulders and told me she didn’t know! She had no idea about the content of her prayers for me. Her companion, who had laid hands on me, also had no idea and nor did I – what was the point of it all?

My friend explained that she had been praying in tongues and that this was a spiritual gift. I had heard about praying in tongues – I studied the book of Acts for ‘O’ level Scripture – but I thought this was just something that had happened ‘back in those days’ and I didn’t know it was still happening in the 20th century! My friend explained that sometimes people have problems that they think of as private and they are reluctant to ask for prayer for these problems. But God knows about our deepest needs and when a person prays in tongues, the Holy Spirit intercedes without any privacy being invaded. In my case it was also true that I was not aware of my deepest needs myself and I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit interceded for me at that time and that my friend was faithful to her calling to pray for me in tongues.

My friend and her companion asked me to commit my life to Jesus and I repeated the words they asked me to say.Then they told me I had become a Christian. I told them I hadn’t become a Christian – and it was true. I actually became a Christian three days later. What happened in those three days was so life-changing that I recorded it in a journal, which I still have. My journals are book-sized not blog-sized so I will mention just a few points here.

The most significant factor is the circumstances in which my friend prayed for me. I had collapsed at work and couldn’t stand on my own two legs. Instead of doing break duty, I sat in the staff-room at school and cried. When a colleague asked me what the trouble was, I replied, ‘My willpower let me down.’ I know now that those words were a turning point in my life.Thanks to my willpower, I had soldiered on for nine months with severe headaches – the CSF pressure on my brain had become dangerously high because of a non-malignant lesion on my optic nerve.There was a ‘traffic jam’ in my head! No wonder I collapsed. I did have brain scans and a lumbar puncture nine months before my collapse at work and was told I had ideopathic intracranial pressure. My neurologist told me he could give me pain killers and also a Botox injection to subdue my facial spasms but that these would mask the symptoms and it would be better if I could endure the pain for as long as possible before contacting him again. I soldiered on for nine months, driven by willpower… and pride.

Pride comes before a fall – literally, in my case! 

During those three days after my friend prayed for me in tongues, the words that came to my lips over and over again were:

‘Your will be done … not my will … your will.’

I said the whole of the Lord’s prayer over and over again. I found an old Bible that had been gathering dust in the back bedroom and started reading Galations …and then Hosea, Isaiah, the Psalms, the Gospel according to St. John…all books I had never read before.  

Six months after I became a Christian, I received the gift of tongues and I am so thankful for it. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me at times when I have so many thoughts whizzing round in my head, so many ‘mental arguments’ that I hardly know how to begin to pray…when I am lost for words. I have, on a few occasions and with their permission, prayed for others in tongues. Some Christians at church were delighted that I had received this gift….others, to my great dismay, seemed to frown on it and I learned to keep quiet about this wonderful gift…but that is another story.

My headaches come far less frequently now. My neurologist monitored me for five years, during which time I was given several more tests and treated for almost a year with acetozolomide, a drug which was sometimes given to divers with ‘the bends’ and climbers suffering from ‘mountain sickness’.When my neurologist discharged me, he told me I could contact him again If I needed to. I haven’t contacted him again…

I am still amazed at the grace  that saved ‘a wretch like me’.

‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

Oh my soul praise Him ….’



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