Life is a series of choices.
Each choice has a consequence: good or bad.
Unfortunately, we can only see so far. Sure we can make out from A choice to B choice…
…but how does D choice affect T?
…or how does F choice affect Q?
I mean you can just use your intellect, experience, data, and knowledge to get you along in life. Many people do it and you can too.
But why use less when you’ve been given more?
The believer in Christ has many tools to navigate this road called life. And one of those is…drumroll please:
Praying in the Spirit
Now before you get all defensive…
…understand this is not denominational fluff.
It’s more than that.
It’s a life changing practice that can improve every aspect of life:
- And yes financially
Do I now have your attention?
The Rise of Praying in the Spirit
To be clear: praying in the spirit is praying in tongues.
Many mainline denominations have seen a decrease in baptisms and new memberships.
For instance, while the Southern Baptist church hit a peak year of baptisms in 1999 with 419,000, that number shrunk to 315,000 in 2012.
In 2016 it declined even further to 280,773. To put that in perspective: the ratio of baptism to total members was 1 baptism for every 54 members.
When the numbers were presented in 2012, a task force was put together, and they concluded: “we have a spiritual problem.”
But Southern baptists aren’t the only ones who’ve seen a decline: Presbyterian churches have seen a decrease in baptisms, new memberships, and the rites for kids and adults
But while some churches have seen a decline the Assemblies of God has seen a steady rise in water baptisms over the past two decades. The Pentecostal denomination has also seen an increase in “Holy Spirit baptisms.”
Due to these “Holy Spirit encounters” this Pentecostal denomination has seen a membership increase year over year.
Spiritual renewal and not just “doing business as usual” has led to significant increase for this denomination.
Obviously it’s more than praying in tongues.
- Good leadership
- Ability to adapt to changing times
- Passion for the lost
- Compassion for others,
- A growth culture and mindset
But it would be unwise to deny the power manifested by the practice of praying in another language.
The Science of Praying in the Spirit
Remember what we said: praying in the spirit is simply praying in other tongues.
There are there types of tongues in the Bible:
- Speaking a language one’s never studied (like speaking French fluently).
- Prophesying in a language that another person can interpret and share.
- Praying in a language not understandable to the brain.
We’re talking about the 3rd.
Praying in tongues is praying in a language that doesn’t register with the frontal lobes of the brain.
Let me explain.
The New York Times took a neuroscientific look at speaking in tongues. Scientists found test subjects, had them speak in tongues, and took pictures of their brain.
What did they find?
They found that when they spoke in English the frontal lobes–the thinking willful part of the brain was active. But when they spoke in tongues those same frontal lobes were quiet as were the language centers.
What does all this mean?
Without brain scans or neuroscientists the Apostle Paul explained what it meant:
“For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.” (1 Corinthians 14:14)
When a believer prays in tongues, they’re praying in their spirit by the Holy Spirit. Their mind is unproductive.
How Praying in the Spirit Helps
1. It gives a plan
If you’re a believer in Christ know that God has great plans for you.
That is a fact!
He said it Himself:
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 KJV)
The mistake people make is that they look for the answer and not the
In other words they look for the money, the promotion, the job, the wife, the husband, the house, and etc.
But when God gives an answer He often wraps it in a plan.
For instance, when Jesus came to Capernaum He needed money for taxes. He didn’t magically invent money or had money come from the sky–instead, He had a plan. He told Peter:
“However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” (Matthew 17:27 NLT)
Look at that: a plan.
A specific, measurable plan.
What does this have to do with praying in tongues?
I’m glad you asked.
When a person prays in tongues their spirit (through the Holy Spirit) is praying directly to God. Paul put it like this:
“So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27 AMPC)
In other words: we don’t know REALLY know how to pray.
But when we pray in the spirit, the Spirit Himself prays the perfect will of God on our behalf.
How cool is that!
The Pulpit commentary added its own thoughts:
“The Holy Spirit Himself, who intercedes (ὑπερεντυγχάνει) for them. But how? Not as the Son intercedes for them, apart from themselves, at the mercy-seat; but within themselves, by inspiring them with these unutterable (or, unuttered) groanings; and they are conscious that such deep and intense yearnings are from the Divine Spirit moving them, and teaching them to pray. They may not still be able to put their requests of God into definite form, or even express them in words; but they know that God knows the meaning of what His own Spirit has inspired.”
But get this:
when we pray in the spirit our spirit speaks to mysteries to God, but He also speaks mysteries to us!
Or He gives us plans.
Here’s an example–let’s say you wanted to know about the third law of thermodynamics. You have two choices:
- You could comb through your mind, ask people around you, and look in in a few books.
- Or, you could just Google it.
Hmm…tough choice! 🙂
Your spirit (regenerated by and fused with the Holy Spirit) is like Google. In your spirit you are perfect and complete in Him (Colossians 2:10 KJV).
It’s in your spirit that you get the “download” from God.
When we pray in the spirit–we type in the “search query” and after some time we get an answer.
The perfect answer.
Now, you can comb your mind for help all you want. But wouldn’t it make more sense just to Google the answer?
2. It’s a part of spiritual warfare
Besides getting plans, praying in the spirit is a great way to be on the offensive against demonic attacks.
Jesus made it clear,
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV)
The thief steals, kills, and destroys in many ways:
In anyway possible.
And yet when you read the Bible–nowhere does it say: “praying in the spirit is part of spiritual warfare.”
That is until the Bible speaks about the armor of God. Paul said,
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:13-18 KJV)
The term “whole armor” is the Greek panoplia, meaning “whole, complete set.” It was a word used to depict the full armor of a hoplite or heavily-armed Roman soldier.
When the Roman soldier put on his “whole armor” there were seven things he would put on. But the apostle Paul only listed six things by name:
- The belt of Truth
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- Feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace
- The shield of faith
- The helmet of salvation
- The sword of the spirit
Since six is the number of man, and seven is the number of God, the armor wouldn’t be complete without the last piece.
What is the last piece??
The seventh piece for the roman soldier was his lance.
The lance was called the “pilum.”
The pilum was designed to penetrate the shield as well as the soldier holding it, and to bend upon impact making it unusable for another opponent.
It was used for long distances by throwing it, and for shorter distances they would use it to charge.
It was a very offensive weapon.
So it is with praying in tongues: it is a very offensive weapon.
It is very effective in “pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV)
3. It builds up faith
If there is anything crucial to doing great things for and with God: it is faith.
Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.
Faith is built with constant hearing and reading of His Word…
…but it is also built by praying in the spirit.
“But you, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 1:20)
Praying in the spirit is a powerful faith building tool. It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul said,
“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18 KJV)
Smith Wigglesworth a man who through God did mighty exploits, namely:
- Thousands were saved and healed under his ministry–including 14 people raised from the dead.
- Had an international ministry and travelled to Sweden, US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, India, and several countries in Europe
- Had his sermons published into books that still impact people
And he attributed all this this–largely–to his communion with God in the spirit.
He also had this to say about his “qualifications” to be a minister:
“I want you to see that he that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself or builds himself up. We must be edified before we can edify the church. I cannot estimate what I, personally, owe to the Holy Ghost method of spiritual edification.
I am here before you as one of the biggest conundrums in the world.
There never was a weaker man on the platform.
Inability–full of it.
All natural things in my life point exactly opposite to my being able to stand on the platform and preach the gospel.
The secret is that the Holy Ghost came and brought this wonderful edification of the Spirit. I had been reading this Word continuallv as well as I could, but the Holy Ghost came and took hold of it, for the Holy Ghost is the breath of it, and He illuminated it to me.”
4. It promotes health and well being
God is all about your health and well being. He’s more concerned about your health and wholeness than you realize.
The Bible says,
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2 ESV)
There are going to be those who say God is behind sickness:
- “The Lord is using this sickness to show you how to trust Him.”
- “God is using this sickness to mature you.”
- “Learn to thank God for this sickness.”
When the Bible spoke about Jesus, it said:
“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 KJV)
Sickness is “of the devil.”
You’re His child, so why would He use sickness and ill health to “correct” His child?”
Would you use sickness to correct YOUR child?
If little Johnny is acting up are you going to tell him:
Probably not, right?
God’s job is not to bring disease but to heal all diseases.
And to see you in perfect health.
This sounds great but what does this have to do with tongues?
I’m glad you asked.
Remember what Paul said,
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…” (1 Corinthians 14:4)
That word “edifieth “ is the Greek word “oikodomeó.” That word is derived from two Greek words:
- oíkos, meaning “a house”
- “domeō, meaning “to build”
Properly stated–it means “to build a house.”
Obviously, in one sense it means to build someone up spiritually. But in a more literal sense it means exactly that: to build or refurbish a house.
What does the “house” represent?
Let’s bring Paul back into this conversation:
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT)
Soooooo…are you saying praying in the spirit (or speaking in tongues) builds the body?
And before you get all doubtful on me let me tell you the truth: I didn’t believe it myself.
It didn’t sound very credible.
But if scroll back up to the section that says, “The Science of Praying in the Spirit,” you’ll remember that study on the neuroscience of praying in tongues.
Well…besides the frontal lobes being inactive and all that cool stuff researchers also found that those engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable that those who did not.
But that’s not all.
A study done by the American Journal of Human biology found that speaking in tongues was associated with both a reduction in circulatory cortisol, and enhancements in alpha-amylase enzyme activity—two common biomarkers of stress reduction that can be measured in saliva.
- Cortisol is a stress hormone responsible for the familiar stress response known as the fight-or-flight reaction.
- Alpha-amylase is an arousal enzyme that is sensitive to quick environmental changes and involves adrenaline release in the sympathetic nervous system
So….what do you think?
I want to hear from you:
- Do you pray in the spirit? Why or why not?
- What other benefits have you seen?
- What else would you add?
Leave a comment and let me know.