The How’s and Why’s of Praying in Tongues

Today is your day. If you’ve never been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, Today is your day.  I want you to know that God has an amazing gift to pour out on you; so get your heart ready and stir your faith because today, you will OVERFLOW with the Spirit and Power of God. Maybe you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but you don’t understand what speaking in tongues is for. You, too, can be blessed today.

My prayer is that everyone reading this will overflow with the Rivers of Living Water – that the Holy Spirit will pour out of you through speaking in other tongues, and that you will experience more power, more anointing, deeper revelation, and a stronger witness.

What are the benefits of speaking in tongues?

  1. Praying or “Speaking in Tongues” is the evidence of the Infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4 / Acts 10:44-46 / Acts 19:1-6 / Acts 9:10-17 (Read with 1 Cor. 14:18).
  2. Praying in tongues refreshes and edifies the believer – Draws up out of the wells of salvation (Isa. 12:3 / Isa. 28:11-12 / John 4:14, 7:37-38 / Luke 6:45 / Acts 2:4).
  3. Praying in tongues helps us to pray for that which is unrevealed (mysteries) (1 Cor. 14:2).
  4. God’s way of ‘bubbling’ up answers into your soul (mind/will/emotions) (1 Cor. 14:14).
  5. Prayer for needs that are unknown (Proverbs 18:21 / Mark 11:23-24 / Romans 8:26-27).
  6. Praying in tongues adds a new dimension to worship (1 Cor. 14:15 / Spiritual songs).
  7. Praying in tongues builds faith (Jude 20)

Praying in tongues is the evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the overflow of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Acts 2:4 / Acts 9:10-12,17 [read in conjunction with 1 Cor. 14:18] / Acts 10:44-46 / Acts 19:1-6). Praying in tongues is the first sign (Greek – “Semeion” – indication of an event) of the Holy Spirit’s overflowing out of your spirit. The above scriptures are events in the New Testament that show that the early Christians prayed in Tongues every single time they received the ‘overflow’ of the Holy Spirit.

Praying in tongues refreshes and edifies the believer – if you’re weary, when you’re tired, when you don’t feel like you can pray, worship, or give God any Glory, then allow the Rivers of Living Water in the form of Tongues to rise up and begin to flow up. You’ll suddenly be refreshed, and your inner man (your spirit) will wake your soul up and you’ll find refreshing coming from the Throne of God in your heart.

Praying in tongues helps us to pray for what we don’t know about (mysteries) (1 Cor. 14:2). The Greek word for mysteries is “Musterion,” which means “a hidden thing.” When we pray in tongues, we’re speaking mysteries (hidden secrets in the presence of God – hidden from the enemy for us), and we, because “life and death are in the power of our tongues” (Proverbs 18:21) release those mysteries into the earth and into our lives. When we pray in tongues, the secrets of God are being spoken and those things bubble up into our minds. Also, we pray for needs that we’re unaware of. For example, Pastor Josh in Washington D.C. may need prayer, and since we’re so far apart, I might not know it, but the Holy Spirit knows what he needs. So, if I am awakened in the middle of the night with a burden to pray for Pastor Josh, I simply pray in tongues until I sense a lifting of the burden. Since I have authority through Jesus Christ over all the power of the enemy, the words of my mouth declare that authority, even if I do not understand what the Holy Spirit is giving me to say.

Praying in tongues adds a new dimension to worship (1 Cor. 14:15 / Spiritual songs). When you pray in tongues, you magnify God (Acts 2:11 / 1 Cor. 14:16-17). Therefore, you can sing in Tongues too. This is a beautiful way to give God glory, in His own love language.

Praying in tongues builds faith (Jude 20). The Word of God is the source of your faith (Romans 10:17), and the Word was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, when you’re in the Word your faith is being established (founded), and when you are praying in tongues, you are building up your most holy faith, not letting any other sound into your heart.

Is “Speaking in Tongues” for Everyone?

Someone reading this may say “doesn’t the Bible say, ‘not all speak with tongues’ doesn’t that mean that not everyone can have the gift of tongues?” (1 Cor. 12:30).  In order to properly understand 1 Corinthians 12:30, we need to look at the passage in context and see the difference between the Gift of Tongues and the Prayer Language.  The primary difference is DIRECTIONAL.  The GIFT OF TONGUES is demonstrated when someone gives a message in a corporate setting that must be interpreted.  This is a message FROM GOD TO THE CHURCH.  The Prayer Language is tongues that is directed FROM INDIVIDUALS TO GOD under the unction and direction of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

The Gift of Tongues The Prayer Language
The Gift of tongues is a ministry gift – this means that it is given to an individual for the purpose of encouraging others. This gift must always be accompanied by the gift of interpretation (1 Cor. 14:13, 28).This gift manifests in a worship service with a distinct sound – a clear call; making it evident to the whole Body that it is a message FROM God TO the people. The gifts of tongues and interpretation are the equivalent of prophesy (1 Cor. 14:5). The prayer language isn’t a ministry gift. It’s not a gift that is utilized to deliver messages from God to the church. The Prayer language is a grace gift that is utilized by the Holy Spirit to benefit the individual believer and deliver messages from the spirit of man to the heart of God (1 Cor. 14:4 / Jude 20 / Isaiah 28:11-12).


We see the difference between “ministry gifts” that are specialized to individuals and “grace gifts” that belong to every believer clearly in the scriptures: Paul asked in 1 Cor. 12:29-30:

  • Are all apostles?
  • Are all prophets?
  • Are all teachers?
  • Are all workers of miracles?
  • Do all have gifts of healings?
  • Do all speak with tongues?  Do all interpret?”

The obvious answer to these questions is “no;” therefore, this passage has been used by many critics of those who speak in tongues to say, “Not everyone can speak in tongues.” This is an inaccurate way of seeing this passage. It is true, not everyone has the gift of healing, not everyone is a prophet, and not everyone is an apostle or a prophet. However, let’s look at each one a bit:

  • Are all apostles?  The answer is obviously ‘no.’ Not everyone has the ministry gift of apostle; however, everyone is called to BE APOSTOLIC.  Apostle simply means in the original language “one who is sent.”  Jesus has sent ALL OF US into the earth to be His representatives.  So, even though we may not all be “Apostles,” we are all apostolic.
  • Are all prophets?  The ministry gift of a prophet is to hear from God and share the wisdom of God with the people of God.  Though we do not all have the ministry gift of a prophet, we’re all called to hear from God and share His wisdom; therefore we are all called to be PROPHETIC.
  • Are all teachers?  The ministry gift of a teach is fulfilled when one stands in front of the people of God and expounds upon the mysteries of God from the Word of God and helps the people of God become equipped to utilize those mysteries.  Though not all of us has the ministry gift of teacher, we are all called to be TEACHING.  The World needs to understand that God loves them, and we can all teach the Word and share with others that God is calling them to Himself.
  • Healing?  We’re all called to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, even if we don’t have the ministry gift of healing (Mark 16:18).
  • Tongues?  We may not all have the ministry gifting of giving messages in tongues to a congregation to have them interpreted, but we’re all called to speak in other tongues (Mark 16:17).

The list goes on, but suffice it to say, even though we may not be called to hold those ministry “OFFICES,” we are certainly called to have attributes of those offices, and to utilize those giftings when appropriate.

As with all things that God bestows, we must choose to utilize the gift that is available, and yield our vocal chords to the sounds that are welling up from our spirits. Jesus made it very clear that the sign (Greek word means – “a portent/indication of something”) of tongues shall follow the believer. In other words, believers can and should speak with tongues, just as a believer can and should lay hands on the sick, cast out devils, and have divine protection operating in his/her life.

 How Do I Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

First, be born-again. No one can receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit unless he/she has repented, been washed in the Blood of Jesus, and become a child of God. Therefore, ask Jesus to be your Savior. Second, ask the Lord for the Baptism. Simply pray and ask the Lord for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Third, receive by faith. Don’t stand there with your mouth closed, but begin to speak in tongues by faith. He will bubble up and out if you open up and receive. He will give you the utterance, but you have to speak.

If I were to tell you, right now, say “book,” then say, “the book is in my hand,” I didn’t reach inside of your mouth and make you speak… I GAVE YOU UTTERANCE (Acts 2:4).  The Holy Spirit wants to give you utterance in a language you don’t understand.  He will not take you completely over and make you speak.  You must do the speaking, as He gives you the syllables to say.  When He gives you utterance, it may start off with a few simple syllables.  Speak those syllables.  As you do, God will give you more and more.  You may ask, “Apostle, what if I only get a few syllables?”  Speak those out.  Remember, the words “I love you” are only 3 syllables, but said over and over again, those words never get old or worn out being spoken from the heart.  Speak what He gives you today, In the Name of Jesus.

If you want someone to pray with you to receive, don’t hesitate to call us : (404) 929-1400


Published by Covenant Network

Pastor Johnny and I are the lead pastors of New Covenant Church of Atlanta and the overseers of The Covenant Network.

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