Praying in Tongues

Praying in Tongues2018-11-27T16:54:01+00:00

What is Praying in Tongues?

Prayer Inspired by the Holy Spirit

Speaking in tongues is called “glossolalia”, from the Greek glōssa meaning language, tongue  lalia meaning speech.  In the New Testament we find three different types of tongues or glossolalia — all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  1. A first gift of tongues was reported on Pentecost when the Apostles were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.

    ”At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.”
    – Acts 2: 6

    Through this gift of tongues the Spirit communicated messages to these startled listeners.  We conclude this because even today the Spirit communicates such messages to surprised listeners through unsuspecting disciples humbly praying the Spirit’s gift of tongues.

  2. The Gift of Tongues

    The Gift of Tongues

    Speaking in Tongues.  A second gift of tongues inspired by the Spirit is the charism of speaking in tongues with the co-charism of interpretation (1 Corinthians 14: 1-40).  When we hear someone speaking in tongues, we humble ourselves before God to receive the interpretation — a message of edification, encouragement or comfort — similar to the charism of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14: 3).  This charismatic gift of tongues is building up the Church today.

  3. Inspired Prayer.  A third gift of inspired tongues is praying in tongues.  A careful reading of 1 Corinthians 14 enables us to distinguish speaking in tongues from praying in tongues.  Through the centuries Spirit-led Christians have prayed in tongues.  In God’s revealed word, praying in tongues or praying in the Spirit was considered normal for disciples:

“With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.”
Ephesians 6:18

When we pray in tongues to the Father, we let the Spirit pray His perfect but mysterious and secret prayer on our behalf.

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.”
Jude verse 20

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”
– Romans 8:26–27

“For one who speaks [prays] in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.  . . . He who speaks (prays) in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I want you all to speak (pray) in tongues, but even more to prophesy.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:2–5

Praying in tongues edifies and strengthens our holy faith, our reliance on the Holy Spirit!

Be Open to the Spirit!

Yes, we have dignity as human beings.  But as baptized Christians we should be open to all that the Spirit is so eager to share with us.  We must be humble and choose to identify with the Third Person of the Holy Trinity and let Him pray in us and through us.

Praying in tongues is so characteristic of the Life in the Spirit.  Praying in tongues helps us realize who we really are in the Kingdom of God and helps us come to maturity in Christ who was continually led by the Spirit.

As we realize our own contributions in God’s Kingdom are so minimal, we increasingly pray in tongues in our reliance on the Holy Spirit — the principle agent of the Church’s mission.

Satan trembles when we rely on the Holy Spirit and on His prayer and power.  Satan aims to hinder our openness to the Spirit by making us bewildered about praying in tongues.  Don’t be deceived!  Learn more about the “release of the Spirit”.  In our openness to the Holy Spirit, we should be open to all He has ordained for us!

Holy Prayer

Relating to God with our own understanding and devotion is holy prayer.  We should often praise, thank, repent and intercede the best we can.  Our supernatural faith-hope-charity will guide this communication with God.  And the Holy Spirit will be involved if we are open to His guidance.

After we pray the best we can as Christians, we pray in tongues and let the Spirit Himself praise, thank, repent, and intercede on our behalf.  On the natural level our communication in an unknown language is meaningless; this meaningless language is a sacramental that reminds us of our littleness and our reliance on a Divine Person.  On the supernatural level we are relying on an understanding and love that is greater than ours.  We are being humble and surrendered to the Holy Spirit Himself.  This reliance is indispensable for growth in holiness.

If  the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God, that prayer will have results, whether evident to us or hidden.

Holiness requires us to identify with the Holy Spirit in all our activities.  As we begin some task or service or ministry, we rightly pray in tongues to identify with the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit, to submit to His guidance and His power.  Then He receives all the Glory!

When we pray in tongues to the Father, we let the Spirit pray His perfect but mysterious and secret prayer on our behalf.

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.”
Jude verse 20

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”
Romans 8:26–27

“For one who speaks [prays] in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.  . . . He who speaks (prays) in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I want you all to speak (pray) in tongues, but even more to prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 14:2–5

Praying in tongues edifies and strengthens our holy faith, our reliance on the Holy Spirit!

Why I Pray in Tongues . . .

“It opens me up to the other gifts of the Spirit!  I pray in tongues and then I often get leadings or words from the Spirit.”

Lynne Doyle

“At times my language doesn’t express what I want to express to God, I let the Spirit express it in a language of the Spirit.”

John Johnson

“Praying in tongues edifies the believer and we so need to be built up in spiritual warfare.  If I have any negative thinking, I pray in the Spirit and this darkness is removed.”

Louise Wall

“When I’m discouraged, praying in tongues lifts the discouragement.  . . .  I can focus on the person or intention I’m praying for and not on what I’m trying to say.  . . .  I can praise God in tongues much longer than in my own words.”

Patrick Doyle

“The gift of tongues was given to me in a very clear and dramatic moment of my life.  I pray with this gift to praise and petition our Father, relying on the Holy Spirit.”

Jim Kutcher

“Sometimes I don’t know how to pray for someone, so I pray in tongues. It’s the best way to pray because the Spirit knows the situation and prays through us. You know it’s going to the Father.”

Nora Meeuwsen

“I praise God in a tongue better than my tongue. I found the gift of tongues healing. I used to feel a lot of anger while praying in tongues and I didn’t know the source of the anger. I kept praying and praising and whatever I was angry about was removed by the Spirit.”

Jackie Morgan
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