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Jamie Mayfield wrote:

Hi, guys —

Today my mother told me I spoke in tongues in my sleep. A friend said they heard me do these as well. I want to know what that means for me. I can't remember what I said or what I was dreaming about.

  • If I was speaking to God how can I understand what I was saying?

I want to know how I can speak to God.

  • What does it mean to speak in tongues?
  • How do you talk to God?

Thank you for your time,

Jamie

  { What does it mean if my family and friends said I was speaking in tongues in my sleep? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the question.

There are many callings and charisms in the Church. I personally have not experienced speaking in tongues. Some of my colleagues may be able to address your question better then I can.

You said:
I want to know how I can speak to God.

First, there is no strict manner in which anyone has to speak or pray to God. He is very pleased when you just share your:

  • needs
  • frustrations, and
  • concerns in any manner you wish.

It is also a blessing to give thanksgiving to Him for all he has given you ... including life itself!

I don't know whether you are a Catholic or not, but either way, the best formal way to talk to God is through prayer. My favorite prayer, and one of the most powerful forms of prayer in the Catholic Church throughout history, is the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Through this devotion to Mary, we think about and honor the lives of both Jesus and Mary when they were incarnate: body and bones, here on earth.

If you are a Catholic, you can probably get a Rosary from your local parish; if you are not a Catholic, you can easily get one on-line.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi, Jamie —

Normally, speaking in tongues is something that happens in the context of worship. I've never heard of it done in one's sleep and I would tend to be skeptical that you were genuinely speaking in tongues, though I have experienced it in unusual circumstances (though not quite so unusual)
so I suppose I can't rule it out.

You won't necessarily understand what you were saying. There are some cases in which you or someone else may have a gift of interpreting what you say in tongues (See 1 Corinthians 12:10,30; 1 Corinthians 14:5,13,26-28), but often it is uninterrupted. Interpretation of tongues is something akin to the gift of prophecy.

  • What does it mean for you?

It may merely be a gift that builds up your faith, that assures you that God is there and that He loves you. It could allow you to pray ecstatically, or at least pray when you don't know what to pray for (See Romans 8:26).

Some say speaking in tongues may involve speaking on the tongues of angels (1 Corinthians 13:1). Others point out that angels, being pure spirit, have no tongues and need no language to communicate (or at least, wouldn't communicate as we do). One important thing though is not to get too enamored of tongues. You'll notice that this is what happened to the Corinthian church, which was the most unruly and immature of the communities St. Paul wrote to. A dose of humility is always wise.

  • How do you talk to God?

I see four ways to talk to God.

First, talk to him from the heart, extemporaneously, as a friend. Share your concerns, feelings, and needs with him.

When that fails you, or if it doesn't provide enough structure, pray in the words of other people, for example, the Psalms. The ideal way to do this is by praying what's known as the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the private prayer book of the Catholic Church. It can be done by any person anywhere. You can also find rote prayers that you like and pray those. You can even construct your own fixed prayers in your own words.

The third way to talk to God is not to talk at all but to meditate, that is, to think about God, to wordlessly offer him your heart and show him affection, to gaze upon him warmly. — Here an icon or Eucharistic adoration is helpful.

Lastly, there is speaking in tongues.

I hope this helps!

Eric

John replied:

Hi, Jamie,

In both my study and experience on the subject of tongues, I've found that it is a manifestation that one can control. In other words, the Spirit gives you utterance but it doesn't force you to open your mouth and make you speak.

When someone has this gift, they can exercise it any time they so chose. It is simply a prayer language. I've heard of some people doing it in their sleep, however, they all knew they had this gift and prayed in tongues in their personal prayer life while awake. That is not to say that your experience is not valid, licit, or genuine.

Receiving the gift of tongues, (or any other gift) for that matter, involves yielding and surrendering to the Holy Spirit. Moreover, when we pray in tongues, it is our spirit that prays so it is entirely possible, although not common, that your first manifestation of this gift happened while you were asleep.

Hope this helps,

John

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