Why do I pray in the spirit? I pray in the Spirit when I am hungry and I am fed on the Word that is in my heart. I pray in the Spirit when I am in bondage and I am set free. I pray in the Spirit when I am tired and I am revived. I pray in the Spirit when I can’t focus and I am given direction. I pray in the Spirit when I am sick and I am healed. I pray in the Spirit when I am confused and I am taught. I pray in the Spirit when I am lonely and I am given company. I pray in the Spirit when my sin has exposed me and I am given new clothing. I pray in the Spirit when I don’t know how to pray or who to pray for and the intercessions of Jesus are revealed. I pray in the Spirit when I feel I don’t have enough faith for what I ask and I am given a measure of His faith. I pray in the Spirit when I can’t feel and I am given burdens. I pray in the Spirit when I just don’t care and I am given travail. I pray in the Spirit when I don’t know what else to do and I am given a call and sent forth. That is some of why I pray in the Spirit. For all who would question this beautiful form of intimacy I would be interested to know if they question as someone who has not experienced it and therefore doesn’t believe or someone that has experienced it and changed their mind. I can’t imagine getting through my everyday life without this form of prayer.
I came upon this gift as someone that had no understanding of it for today. When I first spoke in tongues I was in my dining room and afterward asked God that if my speaking in tongues was demonic or even wrong as I had been taught throughout my life, that He just take me home. I wanted to die rather than do anything else against His will. I called the person whose sermon I was listening to when I was Baptized and given the gift of tongues. God is good and He knows exactly what we need….Little did I know that the very person that led me into the Baptism was a former Baptist preacher – now an AG pastor http://www.raleighfirst.org – that experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequently had to give up much that he had known (including his church) because of what God did in his life that day.
So as not to sound too contradictory, how could I receive such a gift when I had not asked for it specifically. Here is what I believe-I asked for more of God. Period. As much as He wanted to give to me without setting any of my own conditions one of which was to consider the limitations of my own understanding. Often when I find myself in situations that are foreign to me or uncomfortable I have to remind myself that I asked and He gave. Isn’t it amazing that many times as I ask without conditions and He gives without limitations. awesome!
I think that people prayed in tongues ALOT in the early church. It wasn’t few and far between otherwise why would they need to be instructed in how to have order during corporate services.
I wonder sometimes, could the experience of Acts where they all heard their own language have been a gift of speaking but also a gift of hearing? I believe that they all did speak in the tongue that the Holy Spirit gave them…gift of speaking. It was a language that was and is between the speaker and the Holy Spirit but I believe that each person in attendance because the Holy Spirit so desired was given the ability to hear those same words of the Holy Spirit with their own ears…just as we can hear sometimes what He is saying through someone if the Spirit desires (maybe like a corporate gift of interpretation)…gift of hearing. Just my thoughts and kind of how I envision it. I mean I don’t see them all speaking different languages at the same time but if they all spoke one language (of the Spirit) and each person heard.
Also speaking in tongues and praying in tongues are they basically the same thing but used for two different purposes and yet the same purpose? To edify oneself is not a bad thing and is needed. If everyone built themselves up then corporate edification would not be such a struggle. I believe it is our responsibility to edify ourselves so that when we come together corporately we are flowing in unity with the Body. I understand this struggle and I believe that is where so many get into a bind because they expect to get their personal edification during corporate times of worship and therefore we never get to worship in that totally unified way. I believe that people began distinguishing tongues as a “prayer language” to make it sound a little more acceptable to non pentecostals. The language of the Holy Spirit is His language regardless of where spoken. It sounds different to each of us if we are listening because we aren’t in that secret place. In that place when others are speaking to their father through the Spirit it is not something you even question.