The benefits of praying in tongues

The Benefits of Praying in Tongues

This article is not intended to be an exhaustive study on the subject of tongues, and I do not intend to deal with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit here. This article is SPECIFICALLY on the Bible BENEFITS of speaking in tongues, so that is all we will be focusing on.

If you have questions regarding tongues; for example ‘is tongues for everyone or for today?’, ‘what is the connection between the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Tongues’ or ‘What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and is it relevant to us today?’ (or similar questions); please see the other articles on the Holy Spirit where we deal with issues people question, doubt or struggle with in this area.

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of praying in tongues.

Now we want to build on that and look at the benefits.

Since God has given us this ability through the Holy Spirit, we need to understand that it has purpose and is very beneficial to our Christian lives. So:

What are the benefits to me and my prayer life to speaking in tongues?

God has given us this gift. He has given us this language to use. He added it in to the New Covenant for a purpose, not just to be a redundant side part!

Woman Praying
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

It has powerful benefits to your spiritual life when used consistently. Many things can be done through praying in tongues that cannot be achieved any other way. If we neglect speaking in tongues in our prayer lives, we will miss out on an entire realm of prayer that God has for the believer.

I am convinced that if we would spend more time praying in tongues, as individuals and in our church prayer meetings, we would experience more results in prayer, greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and more of the move of the Holy Spirit in and through us.

It has been said that tongues is the gateway into the supernatural.

 1 Corinthians 14:2-5

: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.

:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

:5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

There are a few things we can learn from this passage.

Firstly, the reason Paul is comparing tongues and prophecy is because he is dealing with issues connected to the public use of the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. He is not speaking against the use of tongues, but is bringing clarification concerning using it in public.

In reference to tongues, Paul tells us a number of important things in this passage, which show reasons why every believer will benefit from praying in tongues:

a. Tongues is a means of direct communication with God

1 Corinthians 14:2     ‘…Does not speak to men but to God…’

Tongues is a means of DIRECT communication with God: Prayer (which is why we use it a lot in prayer meetings).

Since the Holy Spirit is inspiring your prayers when you speak in tongues, you can be assured that what you are saying will be prayers of faith and in line with the Word and will of God! You may not know what you are saying in tongues, but you can know that the utterance the Holy Spirit is giving you is ‘spot on’

The Holy Spirit would not give you utterance to speak things in tongues which are not according to God’s will, or out of line with the Word of God. When you speak in tongues, as the Spirit gives you utterance, you can be assured that you are speaking directly to God and that you are praying correctly.

b. It edifies you spiritually

1 Corinthians 14:4 – ‘…he who speaks in a tongue EDIFIES himself…’

Many don’t realise this but praying in tongues is a spiritual exercise that STRENGTHENS your inner man (spirit), it edifies you. It’s a means of building yourself up spiritually

It is not wrong to edify yourself spiritually. According to Paul here in 1 Corinthians 14, there are some things which edify you as an individual and there are some things which edify the church.

The individual believer needs to be edified AND the church needs to be edified, and God has given us the means to do both, it isn’t a matter of either one or the other getting edified.

Paul emphasises the edifying of the church in this passage, because he is referring to tongues and prophecy as it is used in a church setting. He is not speaking about your own personal prayer life (which is done at home and outside of a church meeting) where you should be getting edified.

Many times as individual believers each get edified, the result will be that overall spiritual environment of the church will be stronger spiritually and the church will be edified!

How much can we be edified?
How much do we need to be edified on the inside?

I believe we need to be edified a lot!

Most are not praying in tongues much at all so are getting next to no edification from it!

They could do with more and would find out that it benefits their spiritual lives greatly by edifying their inner man (spirit)

In our world we often put emphasis on strengthening our bodies or minds but neglect our spirits.

People who neglect their spirits remain weak spiritually, but those who take the time to feed and develop their spirits, including being edified through praying in tongues will find that the benefits to their personal lives are amazing.

1 Corinthians 14:14

:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

When you pray in tongues your spirit is praying! In other words it is a spiritual activity: your spirit is active.

When your body is active it helps keep you fit and healthy physically.
When your mind is active it helps stimulate it and keep it strong.

Same with your spirit: it should be kept active with spiritual activity. This will keep you strong spiritually.

Many do not see the benefit of spiritual activity, they fail to recognise that their spirit is the most important part of them and affects ALL of the rest of your being.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Many physical problems could be overcome with SPIRITUAL strength but this is not real to people, so they struggle along in the natural trying to get over things when if they built up their spirits it would enable them to get the victory!

You mind does not understand speaking in tongues  and there are times when the interpretation of tongues will flow so the mind can understand but it is not always necessary in your own private prayer life. (Sometimes it will happen).

By speaking in tongues your spirit is active and it edifies itself through this exercise

Because praying in tongues is of no benefit to the mind,
people who are more led by their minds than their spirits
will not see the point of it and will do little or none of it!

c. Speaking in tongues stimulates your faith

Jude 20

:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

According to this, praying in the spirit will stimulate and build up your faith. Here again we see that tongues plays a role in building you up, by building up your faith. Many people need building up, and they are seeking all kinds of ways to do it in their lives, if they would just begin to speak in tongues on a regular basis they would find that their spirits get edified, they get built up and their faith gets stimulated!

Sometimes when faith seems weak it’s not because its not present but rather that it is weakened and needs to be built up.

Tongues is one way to do this.

Faith is of the spirit and if the spirit is weak faith will be weak. By building up our spirit, we stimulate our faith.

d. Tongues brings spiritual refreshing

Isaiah 28:11-12

:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,

:12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.

Praying in tongues gives spiritual refreshing. The rest, the refreshing that this scripture is referring to is speaking with other tongues. When we find life is causing us stress and turmoil, perplexity and anxiety, we can speak in tongues and get a refreshing from the Lord, but it takes believing these scriptures enough to be committed to doing it consistently and regularly.

Many people are worn down on the inside, their spirit needs to be built up and refreshed; tongues does this.

The MORE we speak in tongues – the MORE of this you will experience

There is no reason for a Spirit filled Christians to ever get worn down or worn out if we will take the time to speak in tongues on a regular basis.

Image courtesy of prozac1 /

Circumstances and day to day natural life can weaken and wear you down spiritually, using up spiritual strength and energy. When people do not ‘replenish’ themselves, they start to get spiritually weary and run down.

Getting weaker spiritually can result in lower faith levels, discouragement, finding it hard to enter God’s presence, not feeling like praying, not feeling like reading your Bible or going to church etc.

You do not stay spiritually strong automatically.

Just like you replenish your physical body with food, exercise and rest, so the same is true spiritually. There are things you can do to build up your spirit and refresh yourself spiritually.

Tongues is one of the most powerful ways to do this. It is an amazing resource that God has given us to get built up, and doing so regularly will have a positive effect on the rest of your spiritual life.

e. Tongues helps you become more aware of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you

Tongues remind us of the Spirit’s indwelling presence; it is the door way to the supernatural.

It keeps us continually aware of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. Praying in tongues helps us to be conscious of God, of His indwelling presence.  It is bound to affect the way that we live as a result, and help us learn to look to the Spirit on the inside for leading and guidance etc.

1 Corinthians 14:14

:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

Since speaking in tongues is with your spirit, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it helps you get more aware of and conscious of your spirit and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling Presence.

It is a good way to become less mind led and more Spirit led and governed.

Many people want to know how to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit or how to ‘hear from God’. What we need to understand is that speaking in tongues regularly and consistently will help do just that!

Romans 8:16

:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

This verse in Romans 8 gives us a very important truth we need to understand connected to being more sensitive to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit communicates with you through your spirit (notice here that He ‘…bears witness with our spirit…’).

So the more aware of your own spirit you are, the more aware of Him you will become.

As you speak in tongues regularly and consistently, your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will increase and sharpen.

f. Tongues enables you to pray for the unknown, to pray out mysteries

There is a rest and a refreshing available in speaking in tongues. It is good to be edified, built up and refreshed but the use of tongues goes deeper than that!

1 Corinthians 14:2

: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.

‘mysteries’ = divine secrets

This may be one of the greatest benefits to tongues. Because the Holy Spirit is giving you the words to speak, He can lead your prayers and get you to pray for things you may not think about or know about.

Tongues is a language you do not understand. You are not coming up with the words to speak out of your own head, but the Holy Spirit is giving you the utterance.

This way our tongues are being yielded to God to pray for what needs praying for, including things we don’t know about.

Tongues will keep our prayers inline with God’s will; it enables us to pray for the unknown. Praying in tongues is praying in line with the perfect will of God because the Holy Spirit is giving you’re the utterance, He is not going to lead you in prayer contrary to God’s will!

Also your own head is not going to get in the way! There may be areas you do not fully know the will of God, the Word of God etc, but you can still pray in tongues and expect to pray it right!

Lets look more at these mysteries:

Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines this word as:
‘… that outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension..’

It goes on to say that ‘..can only be made known only by divine revelation … at a time appointed by God…’

Mysteries here is talking about things we do not or cannot know ourselves in the natural, but that God knows. Things your mind does not grasp or understand.

Here it shows that by praying in tongues, the Holy Spirit gives us utterance to pray for things we don’t know in the natural. That is so powerful, because God can lead you to pray for things you would not know about any other way. You can communicate to God in mysteries that neither your head, nor other people, nor the devil understand!

Now we can unite this with a verse quoted in the previous article concerning the Holy Spirit helping us in our prayers and can begin to understand how important yielding to the Holy Spirit’s help is.

Romans 8:26-27

:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered

:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

‘helps’ – to take hold together with against

‘infirmities’ – weakness / inability

Our greatest weakness is that we often don’t know what to pray for, because there are things that are a mystery to us. God does know, and the Holy Spirit will enable us to pray these things out in tongues, bypassing our need to understand and know right now.

We can therefore pray for things way beyond 
the scope of our own human understanding and knowledge.

These mysteries we are praying are very important! Praying in tongues is done with the help of the Holy Spirit: when you do not know how or what to pray, HE DOES. He enables you to pray the perfect will of God in a situation.

It is a supernatural means where by even when we are ignorant of how to pray, we can still pray right!

It is a tool – God has given us to tap into the mind of the Spirit of God and pray what needs to be prayed!

I am convinced many times God will even get you to pray things out that are in your future. Things you haven’t gotten to yet but you’re getting your prayers out ahead of you to deal with and sort things out that haven’t even gotten to you yet in the natural!

‘Mysteries’ are things we do not know. We don’t always know God’s plan / will / what steps to take / how to pray about our future / which direction to go etc, but as we pray them out in the tongues, many times it will get us sensitive to HEAR FROM God concerning what we are praying about!

There are many things we don’t know in life that we NEED to know to be a success, they are MYSTERIES to us. GOD knows them. Us using tongues is one of the ways He reveals them to us or gets us to pray about them without needing to know what they are.

Life can sometimes be like a puzzle: sometimes you only have SOME of the pieces but tongues gives you a means to pray about the bits you don’t yet have or know!

Colossians 2:2-3

:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,

:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Notice: ALL wisdom and knowledge is HIDDEN in Him!

God knows everything about everything. He knows all the mysteries. He knows everything about your tomorrow and your future: where you need to be and what you need to do. He knows what you should do and where you should be in order to benefit most in life.

There are treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are valuable to us. They are hidden in Him.

Many things we need in life are hidden and are not just found by taking a casual or half hearted approach.

The wisdom of God is revealed to us when we pray in tongues!

We pray the mystery out. The wisdom of God is brought to light as we pray in the spirit. Praying in tongues taps us into divine mysteries!

There are many things we do not know but need to know to be successful. There are answers to questions – that you will get as you pray out the mystery in tongues! God’s wisdom can and be revealed to a person who speaks more in tongues.

A person who NEGLECTS regular speaking in tongues will not benefit from these mysteries – these unknown things – that could greatly benefit their lives.

There are times when I get asked to pray for or minister to other people. Often if I can, I spend time praying in tongues on the way to see them. This way, I can tap into wisdom from God about HOW to minister to that person. God knows what is going on inside them and what I need to say to them to help. So I pray in tongues, and very often the Spirit of God will begin to give me insight that helps once I begin to speak to the person.

If you will stir up this gift and use it more, God will enable you to pray things out: –

  1. For your own life – your future, spouse, jobs, relationships, your calling, your health, finances etc
  2. For others. The church, the world etc

God’s plan in the church, the nation and the world is hindered because we fail to pray about it. God works with our prayers. Sometimes WARS could have been averted – or even won – if God’s people had prayed it out in advance!

Often the spread of evil in the world is possible because of a VACUUM the church has left – where we SHOULD have filled it with prayer long before – but our NEGLECT leaves the door open for the enemy.

Major disasters can be held back if we prayed – sometimes by praying in tongues the HS will get us to pray something’s out today that could have happened tomorrow had we not prayed.

God can use us to pray for family members even to avert accidents that they would have been in had we not prayed!!

The right person can be prayed into political positions. We often may not know which is the right person to be in political power, but if we will pray in tongues and let God lead our prayers, He knows, and He can get us to pray right for our nations government.

Praying in tongues enables us to reach into unknown areas of life and still pray for them.

Often you don’t know all the facts and what is standing in your way but the Holy Spirit does. When you pray in tongues He can get you to pray for the specific things that need praying about. Even things that you never knew about or may never have thought about with your head!

Tongues enables you to pray out mysteries, things you don’t know. It equips your prayer life to pray supernaturally, always in line with Word based prayers.

Many do not understand or tap into all that is available with speaking in tongues. God didn’t just give us tongues ‘for fun’. It has purpose – very useful purpose in our lives!

We can begin to ‘do business’ in the realm of prayer and accomplish important things that God needs prayed out in our lives, in our nations and in the earth.

The early church placed a high priority on spending lots of time praying and speaking in tongues- Paul said he did it more than them all! I encourage you to begin to stir up your praying in tongues. We are to pray in tongues daily and take time to do it. The benefits are well worth the time put in.

People who spend regular and consistent time praying in tongues will find they are more aware of God’s presence, they are more spiritually built up, their faith stays stronger, and they are more prepared to face the things of life and respond to them with joy, peace and faith.

You may be interested in

God’s Response to your Prayers

This article, along with others by the same author can be found at

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures used are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.

(C) 2008 Exceeding Faith Ministries International & O. Walton.

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