There is a gift of tongues but there is also a “grace” of tongues. There is a message from God that could be in tongues that needs to be interpreted if it’s given in the church, that’s what the Bible says. However, there is also a prayer language that is not from God but to God from man.
Scripture is very clear on this, that we can pray in tongues. Keep in mind that this is different from the gift of tongues. Every believer can pray in a prayer language to God. But the “gift” of tongues needs to be interpreted.
1) It’s Scriptural
1 Corinthians 14:2 – For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit, he speaks mysteries. So, he who speaks in a tongue, speaks to God, in the spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:14 – For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. (Verse 15) What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (Paul is obviously talking about praying in a tongue.)
(Verse 17) For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. Praying in tongues is called, by Paul, “Praying with the spirit.” And in verse 2 of the same chapter, Paul says, “In the spirit.”
Now for those of you who say Paul did not pray in the spirit, with tongues: 1 Corinthians 14:18 – I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
What’s amazing though is that some people will read right over Scripture and not see it. They already are biased against tongues, but look at this Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:39 – Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, “and do not forbid to speak with tongues.”
Do you know that there are churches and entire denominations that forbid people from speaking in tongues? What part of “Do not forbid” do they not understand? That is called “Spiritual Blindness!”
2) It’s a Benefit
It’s a benefit to pray in a prayer language. 1 Corinthians 14:4 – He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
This word “but” most of the time is translated as “and.” It’s not used as the opposite, it’s in conjuncture with – and or “on the other hand.” But there is a difference in speaking in a tongue and prophecy. Let me ask you if you don’t believe in speaking with tongues: What is wrong with edifying or building one’s self up? Nothing! Why on earth would this be bad?
We can pray in private with a prayer language but when praying in public, we should use words that people understand and that’s what this entire chapter is talking about. When we read our Bible in private, do we not build ourselves up? But he who reads the Bible in public, do they not build the whole church up also?
Paul said when he prayed in the spirit, it means he prayed in tongues: Ephesians 6:17 – And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Verse 18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,… Most people stop reading after verse 17 but praying in the Spirit is praying in the prayer language – tongues!
Jude 20 – But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…
Do you personally not need building up in your Christian life? We all do, so pray in the spirit, with tongues! The Bible is very clear on how we build ourselves up – praying in the spirit!
Please keep in mind, this is not talking about the manifest gift of tongues. This is the “grace” of tongues used in prayer that all believers can have when they pray!
3) It’s a Choice
1 Corinthians 14:14 – (Paul says) For “if” I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. In other words, Paul said, “If” I pray in tongues. He had a choice and so do we. But Paul says in verse 15 that “He will pray with the spirit, and will pray with the understanding.” If the Apostle Paul willed to pray in tongues, why shouldn’t all believers?
This is not something that comes outside of our own will. A person is not going to just start blurting out tongues in “Krogers” one day. We have a will, it is our choice to choose to speak in the spirit when we pray to build ourselves up. This is an act of our own will. Why would Paul give instructions on how and when to do it if it’s uncontrollable? Since its Scriptural and it builds us up, why would we not? What’s wrong with letting our spirit pray? Does He not know all things?
It’s all by faith, we open our mouth while in the presence of God, and yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit. Don’t build up a strong-hold against this. If you do you will be missing out on the benefit of keeping yourself built up in the Lord.