This paper explores the theological importance of language, and in particular of encouraging heart-language worship. A growing number of churches worldwide exist in multilingual contexts, and these churches have to navigate complex linguistic realities and attitudes towards the various languages surrounding them. Many church services around the globe are conducted in the national language. The use of language in these cases communicates the idea that God is formal and distant, difficult to understand, and prefers the ‘great’ to the ‘small’. Avenues for communicating that the local language is appropriate to use for prayer and worship need to be considered. The inclusion of heart-language worship helps foster a sense of intimacy with an immanent God, who longs for all to seek Him, who loves all people and languages, and desires to be worshipped throughout eternity by people from every language and tribe. This paper draws on the authors’ fieldwork in South-East Asia.
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