PRAYER AS A SECOND LANGUAGE
I do not know what it is like to move to another country and be immersed in a culture that does not speak English. What I have noticed is the tendency of people to stay close to those who speak their mother tongue. Until people are comfortable to understand and speak a new language clearly, most will save the most important conversations and messages for those who understand them.
As people come from another country, many enrol in ESL classes to increase their ability to communicate and function in a new culture. E.S.L. classes are held to teach people English as a 2nd language. Without this, they are only able to share their thoughts, enjoy company and get answers from their members of their own language group.
But even if a new language is mastered, what language do they think and dream in? Usually, the mother tongue is foundational to their self-talk and thinking.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is very much about leaving one country and becoming the citizen of a new nation. Paul described it as moving from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. Think about it as moving from a war torn nation to a peaceful and safe place; from a place of persecution and danger to new realities.
When we enter the Kingdom of God, we learn to pray. Communicating with God was not part of the Kingdom of darkness, so we must learn about the new Kingdom language and culture. We need to enrol in ‘PSL – Prayer as a Second Language’.
We are often more comfortable communicating in the mother tongue of darkness, so our understanding of God needs to translated. We are now citizens, not outsiders. So with all of our funny accents and limited vocabulary, we begin speaking to God and listening with finely tuned ears.
Then, after a long time in the new country learning the language, we find that we can also think and dream with new words that we were not born with. This is how prayer changes us on the inside.