Praying in a foreign language

A post on Times & Season brought back some mission memories I thought I’d share…

I went to South Africa (Cape Town) on my mission. It is an English speaking mission. I bought a tape from the mission office that had some basic Afrikaans terms. Among them was a simple prayer. It was really simple. It was your basic “Our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for our many blessings. We ask Thee to bless us with thy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

On the a couple of occassions when Afrikaans families would ask me to say a prayer, I would use that prayer. Sometimes they I would add a few words in English, but that prayer was normally sufficient and the family would be surprised and delighted that I took the effort to learn to pray in Afrikaans.

One of my fondest memories was about 2 – 3 months into my mission. I baptized a 17 year old young Afrikaans speaking girl. The day of the baptism after a dinner appointment at a member’s home, the father of that house suggested I say the prayer in Afrikaans. He wrote it all down for me and I had about an hour to learn it beforehand.

I shocked everybody (except my companion and the witnesses) when I said the baptismal prayer in Afrikaans. I was sure nervous but I was told I sounded fluent the way I spoke it. :mrgreen:

In case you’ve read my other post, this was Emily’s daughter that got baptized. This was another big part of your progression toward the waters of baptism. She was crying after the baptism and said she had never felt that good inside before.

Its somewhat funny because as a teenager I prayed that I would go somewhere foreign yet English speaking. (I really struggled in Spanish class). I have no regrets about where I went. I definitely wouldn’t change that. But sometimes I kind of feel like I missed out because I’m not fluent in another language. Yet I did pick up a lot more Afrikaans & Xhosa than I ever thought I would.

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