The Gift of Tongues

1. What is the gift of tongues?
2. What are the benefits of praying in tongues?
3. Do I have to pray in tongues?
4. How can I receive the gift of tongues?
5. What is the difference between praying in tongue and praying with words that I know?
6. What if I don’t understand what I am praying about when I pray in tongues?
7. What should I feel when I pray in tongues?
8. What if I receive the gift of tongues and didn’t practice it for a while, will I lose the gift?
9. Can I start and stop praying in tongues whenever I want?


1. What is the gift of tongues?
The gift of tongues is one of the spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10). When a believer exercises the gift of tongues, it is not his soul or his intellect that is praying. Instead, it is his spirit that speaks to God not in a language that is known to his intellect, but in a heavenly language inspired by the Holy Spirit.

When we pray in tongues, our prayers are led by the Holy Spirit according to the perfect will of our Father in heaven. Hence, it is a perfect prayer, perfectly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is also a powerful and effective prayer, for it does not come from our soul, but from the Holy Spirit, who joins our spirit in prayer and intercedes for us to the Heavenly Father.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8:26-27)

2. What are the benefits of praying in tongues?
• Prayer becomes easy
Praying in tongues is prayer in the spirit, with the Holy Spirit providing the words. Prayer then becomes easy as believers can simply pray from the heart, without having to worry about what to say, what words to use or how long to pray for and is especially effective under those circumstances and during intercessory prayers.

• Powerful weapon against Satan
When believers pray in tongues, their prayers are guided by the Holy Spirit in a heavenly language that Satan does not understand. Hence, it becomes a very powerful weapon against Satan. For God alone knows what we should pray for and how we should pray in order to win our spiritual battle.

• Helps believers grow spiritually
Praying in tongues is a humbling experience. It is an experience which requires us to surrender our minds and thoughts to the Holy Spirit. It allows God to change and mould us in whatever way He wants, thus enabling our spiritual journey to grow and blossom.

• Develop a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit
Gift of tongue is the most common of all spiritual gifts as it is a gift which helps us pray effectively to our Heavenly Father. Believers who pray in tongues frequently can develop a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, thus enabling them to become more sensitive to the presence and direction of the Holy Spirit.

3. Do I have to pray in tongues?
It is true that you don’t have to speak in tongues in order to receive baptism in the Holy Spirit. However, it is commonly a first sign to indicate that a believer has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and it is the most common spiritual gift in the charismatic renewal movement.

Hence, if you want to experience what the apostles experienced on the day of Pentecost and if you want to understand what is written in the New Testament about the gift of tongues, you must give the Holy Spirit permission to grant you this gift.

4. How can I receive the gift of tongues?
A person must receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit before the gift of tongues can be released. Believers commonly receive the gift of tongues by following another charismatic believer who is praying in tongues. The believer who is seeking the gift will soon find his tongue start to make different sounds as he or she begins to follow the direction and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

However, there are also people who received the gift of tongues directly by asking the Holy Spirit for the gift after they have received baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can work in either way and in whichever way He pleases. The key to receiving the gift of tongues is to have a humble heart, surrender to the Holy Spirit and co-operate with Him.

5. What is the difference between praying in tongue and praying with words that I know?
When we pray with words that we know, we are praying with limitation. We pray with our intellect, our emotions and very often according to our own will as we do not know what our Heavenly Father desires. When we pray in tongues, we are praying in the spirit, with the Holy Spirit and according to God’s will as the Holy Spirit knows what our heavenly Father desires.

For example, when I pray with my own words, I might stop praying after I finished 3 decades of rosary. I stop praying according to what my intellect tells me and how I feel depending on my physical and emotional conditions that day. When I pray in tongues, I pray in the spirit, I follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance to stop or start praying which will not be according to my own strength or weakness, but according to His perfect will.

Hence, praying in tongues is more powerful than praying with my own words for it is the Holy Spirit who is leading us to pray a perfect prayer to our heavenly Father.

6. What if I don’t understand what I am praying about when I pray in tongues?
The gift of tongues is a gift that transcends all human understanding. When we pray in tongues, we are speaking to God, not to humans. We are therefore speaking mysteries in the Spirit – a language that God will understand, which is all that matters.

For example, God might want you to pray for a believer who has a sickness that he has not disclosed to anyone. Without revealing this sickness to you, the Holy Spirit can lead you to intercede for him who is in need of your prayer.

For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 14:2)

7. What should I feel when I pray in tongues?
You may or may not feel anything as this is not an emotional experience. Some people may slowly develop a sense or a new awareness of God. Others may experience a sudden breakthrough and feel as if they were dancing in heaven. However, it is different for everyone. Many people sense a lightness and calmness in their spirit as they begin to pray.

8. What if I receive the gift of tongues and didn’t practice it for a while, will I lose the gift?
Once a believer receives this gift of tongues, he will never lose it even if he hasn’t used it for a while. It’s like someone who received a toaster as a wedding gift. Even if the toaster has not been used, the gift is still there.

Believers who are in doubt about whether they still have the gift of tongues should pray in tongues together with other charismatic believers. This will often remove their doubts, enable them to believe and re-activate the gift again.

9. Can I start and stop praying in tongues whenever I want?
Believers who pray in tongues are totally conscious and in total control of their tongues. They have the willpower to start and stop praying whenever they want. However, they will choose to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who will lead them to pray according to God’s perfect timing.