Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tongues as a Prayer Language

Romans 8.26 ...The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don't know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groaning to deep for words....

I Cor. 14.2 For someone speaking in tongues is not speaking to people but to God, because no one can understand, since he is uttering mysteries in the power of the Spirit....A person speaking in a tongue does edify himself...I wish you could all speak in tongues....

I Cor. 14.14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit does pray, but my mind is unproductive...

Computers are operated by a language that I do not understand, which is, in fact so complicated, that it requires experts (called programmers) to understand it, interpret it and write it. That computer code operates all the internal workings of this laptop I am typing on, it speaks to the printer, the mother board, the programs it runs then, somehow, its translated into English. I see the product of a very complicated language interpreted so I can read it.

So here is how I explain praying in tongues. English is so limiting because it is a language we learned from other limited people. There are ideas, feelings, and spiritual things that my language just doesn't have a the words to express. However, never fear, God has pre-programmed us with the mother language, a language that supersedes English (or whatever language you learned as a child). The Holy Spirit has access to this embedded language that lies dormant until He has want of it.

Praying in tongues allows the Spirit to pray without having to go through the English language to come up with what to say. He speaks to God in God's language, which deeply expresses the spiritual realities without me trying to pollute it with my wants, whines, and demands. The embedded language, which I can not comprehend (and Scripture confirms that), is the Holy Spirit speaking. He takes what I need to God. He expresses praise to God in the purest form. He expresses my pain, my strivings, my groans directly to God without the hamper of the English language.

How does one pray in tongues? Good question. One must pray that the Spirit will take over the prayer. One must desire the Spirit to take over our language to express words we cannot understand. One must take a step out in faith to want a deeper, more edifying prayer life that is beyond our language skills and tendency to treat God like a giant vending machine with the wants and desires of our flesh.

I have prayed in tongues many times, even quietly to myself in my non-tongue-speaking church. It is incredible. It is meaningful. And I feel totally connected to the Father when I do it. It takes courage to approach God by this means.

What has been your experience with praying in tongues? If you have never done it, what do you think hinders you?


  1. Interesting way of describing it

  2. I think tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

    He doesn't give us all the same gifts.

    I've never spoken in tongues, but I have other gifts.

    St. Paul tells us that the USE of the gifts is what is important.

    So I try and use my gifts to the best of my ability (or not) and pray that the Lord will make use of me for His purposes.


  3. Theoldadam,
    I totally agree with is a gift of the Spirit. Thanks for dropping by

  4. I like the idea that speaking in tongues expresses our hearts in a way that only God can understand. There have been many times I could not express to God in words anything of what I felt and I have just asked him to read the deep groaning of my heart. I always come away feeling understood and feeling blessed by the experience. I am still working on the speaking in tongues, but your insight is always helpful.