Should unfamiliar language be used to communicate public prayer in church? Paul seeks to address the issue in a letter he wrote to those seeking to worship God in Corinth. This less modern version of 1 Corinthians 14:16-17 can help us to see a little more clearly the dilemma. “Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.”
This seems to suggest that even if what is said is good, it is hard to agree or be helped by words that are not understood. Paul goes on to “sayest” that he is thankful that he speaks in tongues but when it comes to speaking in churches, he strongly encourages people to use a language that can instruct and be understood. We are to pursue love and by communicating in understandable ways, people can be strengthened, encouraged and comforted by God’s truth. Father, may we bless You with both our spirit and with our mind, being sensitive to each situation. May we seek to live out of love so that the words that come from our tongue are so much more than a clanging cymbal. Thank You God, for listening to us when we pray to You. Please continue to guide us in truth and peace. Amen.