Who Should We Pray To? Follow Up

Q. Re: Who Should We Pray To? You responded with “We can pray in the Spirit and in His power”. Please explain “pray in the Spirit”. My local church preaches that this is tongues but reading the verses they use in context doesn’t make sense. When I throw out those verses used out of context I am left with Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20. Both mention “praying in the spirit” but do not instruct on what it is. I do not understand how they can build a doctrine on this when there is so little instruction. Surely if tongues is important as it is preached the Holy Spirit would have put instruction on it in the word. I can hardly turn a page without being told how to walk in love, live by faith but not much on “praying in the spirit” Am I missing something here?

A. If you study Paul’s teaching on the gift of tongues, which takes up most of 1 Cor. 14, you will see it consists primarily of the supernatural ability to speak an earthly language you haven’t learned, which someone can interpret (translate) so the people around you can understand the message the Lord has empowered you to convey. Its value is that both you and the interpreter are repeating a message that clearly has its origin in the mind of God.

Praying in the Spirit does not fit this description because as practiced in some parts of the church it consists of sounds that the person praying cannot understand and no one on earth can interpret.

I believe praying in the Spirit is a matter of subordinating your spirit to God’s so He can put words that you can understand into your mouth, showing you how to pray in a situation where you need His guidance in praying for someone or something. Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, which is not the same as praying in tongues.

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