First, all of us need to be encouraged and built up in the faith. There are times and seasons in which we all face traumatic and stressful issues and are tempted to become angry, depressed, and despondent. There are times in which it seems that the weight of the whole world are upon our shoulders. There are times when we feel weak and worried about any number of issues. There are times which we become disappointed. There are time when we just don't understand what is going on and become confused. Therefore we ALL need to be built up in the faith. Praying in tongues is one way to do that. "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). Because of the contrast found in this verse, we may tend to throw out the first clause. However, we need to recognize the truth where the truth is found. Praying in tongues edifies (builds up) the individual! We ALL need to be built up in the spirit especially when the enemy attacks us with negative thoughts and feelings. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with building ourselves us spiritually. This is important and needful! The only problem would be if we take pride in ourselves in being built up.
Again, it is important to be built up in the faith. In fact, the Word itself commands us to pray in the Spirit so that we can be built up on the faith. "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20). Paul said, "I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying" (I Corinthians 14:5). We should not throw out "I would that ye all spake with tongues" because of the qualifications found in the latter part of the verse. Paul is encouraging the Believers to pray in tongues, but explaining a framework of qualifications in a church setting. Paul, as our example says, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" (I Corinthians 14:18). Furthermore, Paul also says, "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues" (I Corinthians 14:39). Why would Paul encourage Believers to pray in tongues? He wanted them to be built up in the faith so that they would be able to stand against the enemy who would bring issues of anger, depression, and fear. Furthermore, if we are not built up in the faith, we can't help ourselves, much less, help others.
Second, praying is the Spirit is the ability to pray when we have come to the end of our rope and don't know how to pray otherwise. I often find myself facing any number of problems at a given point of time.
1. I have personal problems to pray about.Guess what? Let me confess, I DON'T always know how to pray for all these even if I have detailed knowledge about them. Of course, quite often I only have a very little knowledge. I can easily become overwhelmed and over stressed because I don't know what to do and how to pray. All of us have been in situations where we feel a need to pray, but just don't know how to pray. It is a discouraging and frustrating situation. This is where tongues can be of great value. Paul had definitely experienced this situation! Therefore, he said, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). When we don't know how to pray with intellectual understanding in our native language, we can pray in tongues. That is, we can express in tongues what we could not express otherwise. Furthermore, it is the Spirit working though us (our spirit) to release the prayer. It is the Spirit which is praying through us according to the perfect will of God. "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27). Praying in the Spirit is a means of releasing our deepest yearnings, the yearnings of the inner man. In reality, when one prays in tongues, his inner man is praying. "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (I Corinthians 14:14). Therefore, praying in the Spirit ministers to our soul (mind, will, and emotions). Praying in the Spirit takes away that FEAR of not knowing how or what to pray. It brings PEACE in knowing that the Holy Spirit in making intercession on our behalf. It brings ENCOURAGEMENT that the Father will answer our prayers in due season. All of these are marvelous benefits to our mental health.
2. I have family issues to pray about.
3. I have church issues to pray about.
4. I have business decisions to pray about.
5. I have client issues to pray about.
6. I also have people sending me prayer requests.
7. I even need to pray about this very article.
8. Of course, I need to pray for my city, state, and country.
Third, praying in the Spirit is a means of spiritual warfare. Personally, there have been times that I would have a cloud of depression or fear hanging over my head. I would use the weapon of praise, but the only way that I could get rid of it was to begin to pray in tongues. A part of Paul's conclusion to spiritual warfare is, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18). He started with the fact that we are seated in heaven with Christ, "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:21). Then he says, that we are to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might that we might wrestle with the powers of darkness and remain standing. He then says that we need to put on the armor of God. Then he says, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18). Note the sense of the verse, "Praying ... in the Spirit". After putting on the armor, we enter the battle by praying in the Spirit. In deliverance ministry, I have discovered that the only way, at times, to break through the stronghold of the enemy is to pray in tongues. Praying in the Spirit is a means of spiritual warfare beyond our natural thoughts or words. Praying in the Spirit goes beyond our understanding according to our mental ability. "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (I Corinthians 14:14). If we are depending solely upon our natural ability to reason, we will never pray in tongues. Paul said that should do BOTH! "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (I Corinthians 14:15).
Fourth, praying in the Spirit may bring mental health in another way. Paul quotes Isaiah by saying, "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:21). "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear" (Isaiah 28:10-12). I realize that the context of this is in the negative. I also realize that tongues are a sign for the unbeliever and not the Believer. However, God is through tongues OFFERING the people "rest". The Scripture uses three words of encouragement to those who are weary. The first word which is translated "rest" is the Hebrew word, "men-ookhaw'", meaning peacefulness. The second word translated "rest" is the Hebrew word, "noo-akh", meaning to settle down. Then the word translated "refreshing" is the Hebrew word, "mar-gay-aw'" also meaning rest or refreshing. Mental health comes through peacefulness. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). Mental health comes through being able to settle down. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). Mental health comes through being refreshed or restored. "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:25-26).
Fifth, praying in the Spirit may bring revelation
from God. When our minds are bouncing all over the place, it is difficult
to receive revelation form God. However, when we drop our intellectual
reasoning and pray in the Spirit, we are open to receive revelation from
God. Although John did not say specifically that he was "praying"
he does say that he was "in the Spirit" when God brought revelations to
him. Of course, it would naturally seem that he was praying.
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard
behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and
Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and
send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto
Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto
Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea" (Revelation 1:10-11).
I find at times when I am trying really hard to figure things out, I become
confused or have a mental block; however, when I stop to pray in the Spirit,
all of a sudden, there is a fresh new revelation from God. "And
immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven,
and one sat on the throne" (Revelation 4:2). When we
pray in the Spirit, we may come to see from Heaven's perspective. Heaven's
perspective is always from a mental health perspective!