Praying In The Spirit
(The language/s of the kingdom)
Here are a few brief observations. Where a kingdom is there must be a ruler, a king. Where there is a kingdom there must also be subjects, submitted to the king. The only way to enter the kingdom of God is through the spiritual rebirth experience (John 3:1-8). We experience the rebirth by submitting our lives unto Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). Where there is a kingdom there must be authority and a portion of that authority delegated to the servants of the king. Jesus said, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [literally authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20). To enforce the authority there must also be power. "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1-2). Of course in any kingdom, there must also be a system of laws and and order. A study of the parables of Jesus is a study of the principles of the kingdom of God. Now again, I would suggest that you read through the Gospel of Luke and mark all the references to the kingdom of God and its operation. You should note that in the KJV of the Bible that the word for "authority" referring to the kingdom is often translated "power". You should also note that Jesus was sent by the Father to preach the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom. "And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent" (Luke 4:43). We are also to declare the good news of the kingdom of God. "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you" (Luke 11:20). You may also want to view "Authority To Heal".
Earthly kingdoms often have a national language or
languages. The kingdom of God is no different.
In fact, in the U.S. the national language is English. In order to
become a U.S. citizen, one must be able to speak and understand the English
language whether or not one uses it. I believe that every Believer
in the kingdom of God has been given the ability to speak a heavenly language
whether or not he uses it. It is normally called "praying in the
Spirit" or "speaking in tongues". To quickly clarify, no one has
to practice the speaking in tongues in order to go to Heaven.
Neither do I believe that not praying in the Spirit makes one a "second
class" citizen of the kingdom. Furthermore, many Believers do not
know or do not believe that they have the ability to pray in the Spirit.
Still others are not energized by the Holy Spirit to do so. However,
in America it is generally very beneficial to communicate in the national
language of English. It is also very beneficial for Believers to
speak in tongues in the kingdom of God.
For this study I will use the general term "gift" to refer to tongues, although, more specifically, tongues is a "working" or "operation" of the Holy Spirit through the Believer. The reader should also note that although this article is about praying in the Spirit, specifically speaking in tongues, it does not imply that the Holy Spirit can not or does not lead one to pray in his native tongue specific prayers.
In actuality, the spiritual GIFTS of the Spirit are found in Romans 12:4-8. See: "The Motivational Gift Test" The offices or "administrations" are found in Ephesians 4:10-11. Then the "operations" are found in I Corinthians 12:1-14:40. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (I Corinthians 12:4-6). To further clarify, in "Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (I Corinthians 12:1), the word "gifts" is in italics, indicating that someone added it. Literally, Paul is speaking of "spiritual matters". You should also note that the term "unknown" is not in the original text but can be understood in the context of Scripture.
1. There was one original language upon the earth which probably was Hebrew.
a. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat" (Genesis 1:29).2. The first speaking in different languages was at the tower of Babel. There God caused the people to speak in different tongues. "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech" (Genesis 11:7). The people seemed to be babbling; therefore we get the name "Tower of Babel".
b. After many generations there was only one language. "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech" (Genesis 11:1).
c. From a study of world history, Hebrew is probably the oldest of all languages.
d. Hebrew is the language of God's chosen people.
e. Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament.
f. I understand that Hebrew is a pure language without curse words.
g. Hebrew also "may be" the language the 1,000 year reign. (Zephaniah 3:9).
3. The prophecy concerning the tongues of the New Covenant was given by Isaiah. "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people" (Isaiah 28:11).
a. This was first fulfilled in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). "... we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11). Please note that the Believers were speaking praise in prayer to God. The others simply overheard the disciples praising God.4. What is speaking in tongues?
b. This was through the work of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Believers. "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33).
c. The discussion of the gift of tongues in I Corinthians chapters 12-14 is on the same subject found in Isaiah 28:11. "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).
a. It is speaking in an "unlearned" language. "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" (Acts 2:8). "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1).5. What are the PURPOSES for speaking in tongues?
b. It may sound to some like nonsense. I once worked in a department store where people from different nationalities and languages shopped. When they spoke in their native tongue, it sounded like gibberish to me. I couldn't ever distinguish one word from the other neither could I discern any syntax.(1). "stammering lips" (Isaiah 28:11).c. The people do the speaking. The Holy Spirit will not force anyone to speak or do the speaking for anyone. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and [they] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). I have added brackets for explanation.
(2). Like "babbling" from which we get the name "tower of babel".
(3). Like someone drunk. "For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day" (Acts 2:15).
d. The Holy Spirit enables the people to give words. "... as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).
e. It is a work of the Spirit of God. "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (I Corinthians 12:11).
f. It is the work of the Spirit in our spirits enabling our spirits to pray. "For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (I Corinthians 14:14).
g. It is not the work of our minds. "... but my understanding is unfruitful" (I Corinthians 14:14b). "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). There is a distinct difference in praying with understanding and praying in the Holy Spirit. The mind must be yielded to the Holy Spirit for one to pray in the Holy Spirit.
h. The mind only controls the when, where, and tone of voice. "If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (I Corinthians 14:27-28). We see the principle of individual control also in the gifts of the spirit. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:6-8).
a. The ability to pray in a language different from your own native language. "For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries" (I Corinthians 14:2). ""For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue ... " (I Corinthians 14:14a). "... and let him speak to himself, and to God" (I Corinthians 14:28b). Again, note that "prayer" is unto God, not men.6. When shall tongues cease?
b. The ability to pray when we don't know how to pray for someone or something. "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. 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 8:26-27). Furthermore, we are praying according to "the will of God".
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (I John 5:14-15).
c. The ability to sing praises in a language other than our own. "... I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (I Corinthians 14:15). "Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" (I Corinthians 14:16).
d. Speaking in tongues is the one work of the Spirit in the Believer for self-edification. "He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20).
e. Speaking in tongues may also edify the church body when properly used. *** Read I Corinthians 12:11-17). "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). "Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue pray that he may interpret" (I Corinthians 14:12-13).
f. Speaking in tongues is a sign for the unbeliever. "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe" (I Corinthians 14:22). A sign is a supernatural activity to encourage a belief. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17).
g. Tongues may also be used as a weapon in spiritual warfare. Since tongues is a means of praising God it is a strong weapon against the dark clouds of depression, doubt, and fear. "... we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11). "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalms 149:6-9).
a. When Jesus comes, perfection comes. "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (I Corinthians 13:10).7. Here are some general observations.
b. Please note that the word "perfect" implies "perfection" and is never used in the New Testament to describe Scripture as some have suggested. Instead, we only see a reflection and not the exact picture through the Word now. The Word, though complete, is like a mirror. "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was" (James 1:23-24).
c. Look at the "now" and "then" when Jesus comes. Paul declares "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (I Corinthians 13:12). "But then" refers to when Jesus returns. When we met with Jesus in his return, indeed, we won't have need to speak in tongues or to prophesy. However, until then, there is a need for both.
d. We will see clearly when Jesus comes. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).
a. We are not to be ignorant concerning tongues. "Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (I Corinthians 12:1).
b. Tongues may be considered one of the least of the spiritual gifts. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:28). Is any grace from God insignificant?
c. Furthermore, God has given more honor to it. "For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked" (I Corinthians 12:24).
d. It is to be used in a spirit of love. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1). One should not pray offensively before other Believers who do not understand or believe in the working of tongues. "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:22).
e. Paul practiced speaking in tongues more than anyone. "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" (I Corinthians 14:18).
f. Paul said that one should desire to have the gift of tongues. "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy" (I Corinthians 14:1).
g. Paul's desire was that everyone speak in tongues. "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).
h. Paul gave some specific regulations for the use of tongues in public worship.(1). There must be someone to interpret. "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? .... If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (I Corinthians 14:23-28).i. As with many other things in the spiritual life, Satan can counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit in speaking in tongues. I personally have seen someone under the control of a demonic spirit "speak in tongues"; therefore, the manifestation was not of God. Remember that the magicians of Egypt threw down their rods and they became serpents similar to that of Arron's rod. "For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods" (Exodus 7:12). However for there to be a counterfeit, there also must be the real thing.
(2) Only two or three are to speak. "If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret" (I Corinthians 14:27).
(3). This is to be done in order (one at a time). "If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret" (I Corinthians 14:27). Again, Paul emphasizes, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40).
(4). Tongues should be used in the church to edify the body. "... Let all things be done unto edifying" (I Corinthians 14:26).
(5) (Special note) Prophecy should be judged. "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge" (I Corinthians 14:29). Although prophecy and tongues are different (prophecy is from God to the people, where tongues is praying to God), I also believe that tongues should be judged as well.
j. Paul warned not to forbid the speaking in tongues! "Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues" (I Corinthians 14:39).
k. Did Jesus, our example, pray in tongues? There are at least two passages which seem to indicate so. "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled" (John 11:33). "Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it" (John 11:38). Compare these to Romans 8:26. "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).
1. The gift of tongues is for every Believer. Why?
a. "All" 120 people spoke in the book of Acts. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).2. Spiritual power is needed to operate the spiritual gift.
b. The same is true in each recorded case in Acts. ("All" are implied in "they") "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money" (Acts 8:17-18). "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God...." (Acts 10:46). Luke records what seems to be the norm, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).
c. Speaking in tongues is the only gift specifically mentioned for self-edification.
"He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20). The other gifts or manifestations are primarily for body edification.
d. Paul's desire is that "all" speak in tongues. "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).
e. The general exhortation is given to all Believers in Jude 1:20. "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20).
f. The general prophecy is given to all Believers. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17).
Example: A new car needs gas to run. As the husband would buy and give a new car to his wife, Jesus has received spiritual gifts from the father and given them to the church. "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men" (Ephesians 4:8). However, Believers need the POWER of the Holy Spirit to operate or "work" these gifts. Fire is a symbol of the power of the Spirit of God. The pillar of fire which guided the children of Israel out of Egypt was a symbol of the power of the Spirit of God. "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night" (Exodus 13:21). On the day of Pentecost the pillar of fire is broken into tongues of fire that came upon each of the 120 Believers. "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:3-4). The word "cloven" means divided into individual flames. This occurred that the Believers might be empowered. (See Ephesians 3:16-21). The first result of the tongue of fire that came upon each of them was that power was given to them to speak in a different tongue other than their own. The manifestation of tongues of fire is never again recorded in the New Testament. However, the RESULTS of the tongues are repeated over and over again. As people receive the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, it is normal that they speak in tongues. See: Motivated From Within. This is not to say that anyone who does not speak in tongues is a second class citizen in the kingdom.3. When you pray in tongues, please follow the guidelines of the Word.
We are to do everything in LOVE. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1). Once again, this article is not meant to condemn anyone, but to encourage you, the reader, to discover the power of the Holy Spirit and practice praying in tongues. If you a Believer, praying in the Holy Spirit is one of the benefits of the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, it can be of benefit to the local church body when done properly, in order, and with interpretation.
Why is there such a controversy about praying in the spirit? (1). In one sense it is a "miracle" in one's mouth and therefore difficult to accept by the intellect. (2). I believe that there is much controversity because sometimes it is done improperly and therefore brings confusion. This may be done "in the flesh" or by "demonic" influence. (3). In many cases, those in authority do not discern the spirits or judge the manifestation. (4). It may also be misunderstood because of Scriptural ignorance on the topic. (5). Therefore, I strongly believe that those who are pastors, elders, and other spiritual leaders of the church have a awesome responsibility to instruct those in the local body in the whole counsel of God. Amen!