What Does It Mean To Pray In Tongues?

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In this article, we are going to explore what it means to pray in tongues, explain what it is, look at what you are supposed to say when you pray, see how you can pray effectively, and answer the question should you pray in tongues?

What Does The Bible Say About Praying In Tongues?

The Bible has quite a lot to say about praying in tongues and that may surprise some. We will go into more detail below however as a brief overview the Bible tells us that speaking in tongues is how we speak to God.

I don’t know what vintage you are but I am in the older range and I can remember a very popular song years ago called the royal telephone. You can find the lyrics here.

Well if the Bible says that he who speaks in tongues speaks to God – that is the real royal telephone.

So many scriptures talk about once we are filled with the Holy Spirit that we now have access to the Father.

If you are from a religious background that belittles speaking in tongues please read on and don’t underestimate the importance of what praying in tongues can accomplish in your life.

We will see how praying in tongues is also referred to as praying in the spirit and this is the way you can build yourself up to be strong in the faith.

Let’s take a look at these things in more detail…

How Can I Talk To God?

1 Cor 14:2 shows us exactly how to talk to God…

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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.

He that speaks in tongues speaks to God!

He that speaks in tongues DOES NOT speak to men – it is not a language missionaries use to witness to people with – NO MAN UNDERSTANDS him.

This verse can not make that any clearer – it is a language to talk to God with.


Speaking in tongues – clearly again in this verse – is the same as speaking in the spirit. Because IN THE SPIRIT he speaks!

And he speaks mysteries. Speaking in tongues is how you talk to God, is how you pray in the spirit, and speak mysteries.

Mysteries means the hidden purpose or counsel of God.

Again let’s make this crystal clear that when you pray in tongues your spirit prays – you don’t get much deeper prayer than from right down in your very spirit…

And – Paul is clearly talking about praying in tongues.

It doesn’t get much simpler. The phrases praying in the spirit and praying in tongues are the same.

1 Cor 14:14  – For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

How Do You Pray Effectively?

Once again Paul gives us the definitive answer. You pray with the spirit and with the understanding also…

1 Cor 14:15 – 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.

And the following scripture once again couldn’t be clearer that praying/speaking in the spirit is speaking in tongues because if you bless with the spirit no one understands what you are talking about.

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1 Cor 14:16 – 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?

Should I Pray In Tongues?

Speaking in tongues is how you pray in the spirit and so when we read scriptures such as the following about praying in the Spirit it is talking about speaking in tongues…

Eph 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints

Jude 1:20 – But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

Praying in the Holy Ghost, praying in the spirit, and praying in tongues is all the same thing and that is how you build up yourselves on your most holy faith.

We do want to build on our faith, don’t we?

So, of course, you should pray in tongues.

What Are You Supposed To Say When You Pray?

Just a brief search on the Internet for prayers and you will find thousands of written prayers you are supposed to recite for all manner of situations.

Do you have a personal relationship with God or not?

What are you supposed to say when you speak to your spouse, to your friends, your boss, your work colleagues, your children.

Can you imagine what kind of relationship you would have with any of those people if the only way you spoke to them was with a written speech that is not only lame and boring but was written by someone else as well?

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Come on…

First of all, speak in tongues. God knows we don’t know how to pray as we should…

Rom 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.

That is why the Spirit makes intercession for us.

But secondly, speak from your heart and not from some cold script.

In summary, praying in tongues is an amazing blessing. The very thought that when you speak in tongues you speak to God is mind-boggling.

Paul said in 1 Cor 14:18 –  I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

My goodness, why do people dismiss such a statement?

Paul knew the importance of praying in tongues. He had amazing revelations, he wrote the majority of the New Testament, he went through a lot of persecution.

What do you think sustained him?

It was the power of the Holy Ghost and his love for the Lord and speaking in tongues was a big part of that.

He thanked God for speaking in tongues.

He may have been saying that he spoke in tongues more than anyone.

Or he simply might have been saying, he was more thankful for tongues than anyone.

Either way, Paul valued speaking in tongues as something very precious and so should we.

You may also be interested in… What is an Oxgoad? (Are You Kicking Against The Pricks?) and The Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray

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