Praying in Tongues Privately

Explore the benefits and practical aspects of praying in tongues privately. This form of prayer, often called "praying in the Spirit," allows believers to bypass the limitations of their natural mind and communicate directly with God in a pure, heavenly language.

The following article emphasizes the importance of fervency and faith in prayer, as well as the integration of praying in tongues into daily routines. It also emphasizes the need for balance, incorporating both praying with our known language and with the Spirit in tongues. The article concludes with the reminder to listen to God while maintaining a close relationship with Him to align our prayers with His will.

Praying in Tongues for Self-Edification

By Don Bell | Reading Time: 8 minutes

Artistic Illustration of Praying in TonguesPray Privately in Tongues for Self-Edification
(Source: © DarkBird/

Praying in tongues privately allows believers to edify themselves by strengthening and building their faith. Paul refers to praying in tongues as "praying in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18). This form of prayer differs from praying in a known language since it bypasses our natural mind along with its human limitations.

Whenever we pray audibly in a known language, the prayer is rooted in our understanding, and both we and those who hear us understand the prayer's content. However, when we pray audibly in tongues, our spirit prays in an unknown language, bypassing our natural mind, and neither we nor those who hear us can understand our prayer.

Paul emphasises, "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" (1 Corinthians 14:2).

Our prayer communication with God takes place in a pure, heavenly language, free from doubts, human manipulation, cultural biases, and demonic interference. Consider tongues as an Earth-to-Heaven direct-line to God.

How to Increase Prayer Power

To increase your prayer power, set aside time to pray in tongues daily. This practice will build up your most holy faith (Jude 1:20). Later, whenever someone asks you to pray in the natural, you'll find that your prayer of faith will yield significant results.

Embrace Fervent Faith-Filled Prayers

James says, "The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. … The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:15-16).

The Greek word ἐνεργέω (energeō), often rendered as "fervent," implies that our prayers should be charged with "energy" when delivered, balancing passion and faith. According to James, it's a prayer of faith that's motivated, effective, and so always produces a result.

We must put effort into our prayers to receive the desired results. Fervent prayers require fervency! Pray from your innermost being — your spirit, not just from your intellect.

While it is true that we should not base our prayers solely on our feelings and emotions, it doesn't mean we should not have any emotional response when praying. Lack of emotion can leave room for doubt, leading to uninspired, unanswered prayers.

After all, God created us with emotions, and when properly controlled, they serve us well. However, we must never allow our emotions rule over us. Self-control is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit.

So, prayers should be based on faith, not feelings. Pray trusting in God, not in your emotions. Never allow your feelings to dictate your prayer life. When praying in tongues, pray clearly in a normal voice, and with fervency, and conviction, just as you would in a known language.

Maintain Your Fervency in Prayer

It's common for believers to feel excited when they first begin speaking in tongues, but over time, the excitement can fade. This may lead to feeling dry and empty, as if the Holy Spirit's anointing has lifted.

To maintain fervency in prayer, continue speaking in tongues as a way to build up your faith. This will empower your prayers and bring added confidence when ministering to others.

Never forget that it's God who’s doing the work; it's not you! As the Scripture confirms, "‘[It's] not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts" (Zachariah 4:6).

You are God’s chosen vessel, an available conduit for His anointing to flow through and touch others. Simply pray fervently and let it flow!

Incorporate Tongues Into Daily Prayer

The Holy Spirit desires us to be led by Him, and for us to have greater freedom in our prayer life. The ability to pray in tongues is an important component of this.

Paul urges, "Stand therefore, … praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:14,18). The Greek word δέησις (deēsis) translated as supplication simply means praying for a need or request.

But, how can we be "praying always" for a need? Not only is it difficult to keep our minds focussed, we eventually run out of words and end up repeating ourselves.

Thankfully, God in His mercy understands our human limitations, so He gave us the gift of tongues to help us compensate. The gift of speaking in tongues allows believers to pray without repetitive phrasing despite our human frailties.

Since tongues bypasses the mind, praying in tongues can easily be integrated into our daily routine. It does away with the need for a specific setting or atmosphere, and whether we’re waking up, cooking our meals, driving to work, doing the laundry, or falling off to sleep, we can still pray.

The gift of tongues provides a divine means of communicating with God without any repetition or disruption.

Pray Quietly or Silently in Public Settings

In public settings, it's important to maintain order and respect for others by praying quietly in tongues. Remember, your prayer can be effective, whether spoken aloud or whispered quietly under your breath.

During my time as a chalice administrator at our local Anglican church, I sometimes found myself in a situation where I couldn't recall the words to the offertory hymn during the Communion service. So, I discreetly sang in tongues while standing near the altar, and those around me remained unaware of what I was doing.

Did you know that it's even possible to pray in tongues silently in your thoughts when privacy is lacking? After all, as King David reminds, "'The Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts'" (1 Chronicles 28:9). God has no difficulty in understanding our thoughts during silent prayer.

While praying aloud in tongues is always recommended when alone, praying silently in your head allows you to pray using the exact syllables and words Holy Spirit would guide you to use, without moving your lips or making any sound.

This practical method allows you to pray supernaturally in a way that no one else can hear or even be aware of, as it's solely in your mind and spirit. It's not a form of intellectual thinking, but rather a way for your mind and spirit to communicate with the Holy Spirit, separate and unique from your physical body.

I have always felt uneasy in group settings. Despite putting on a persona and appearing confident, I still experience the discomfort.

However, when I engage in silent prayer in tongues, my anxiety fades, as I become aware that I am not alone in the crowd because my God is with me saying, "'Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you'" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Balance Mind AND Spirit When Praying

Paul says, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding" (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).

When praying in private, engage both your mind AND your spirit by using your known language as well as tongues. A balance between the two prayer expressions is vital for effective prayer and a wholesome prayer life.

For example, begin by praying for a need in your known language. As you find yourself running short of words, switch to praying in tongues until you sense a release. The more you pray in the natural AND in the Spirit, the more your prayer life will grow and improve.

Similarly, begin singing a hymn or familiar chorus and then switch to singing in an unknown tongue, using the familiar tune. Eventually, ask the Holy Spirit to give you both the tongue and the tune.

In a nutshell, praying and singing in tongues will add depth to your spiritual life by boosting your faith, and your inner peace. Adopt this form of prayer for a more intimate connection with Father God.

Balance Listening and Praying

Have you ever noticed that people who talk a lot rarely take time to listen to what you have to say? It's true! Don't prattle on to God about your needs when He already knows the things you need (Matthew 6:8).

Remember, He's your heavenly Father, and He desires a relationship with you, so balance prayer with listening. Develope a close relationship with Him and your prayers will conform more to His will than yours.

King Solomon wisely urged, "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Instead of immediately voicing your needs in prayer or praying in tongues, take a moment to embrace silence. Silence before God is a form of prayer too! God asks of us, "'Be still, and know that I am God …'" (Psalms 46:10).

Be open to hearing God's voice and guidance, whether it comes as a thought, a vision, a Scripture passage, or a prompting to pray in tongues. Avoid preconceived notions of what YOU think God is desiring to communicate, as this can hinder your ability to hear from Him.

Allow God the freedom to speak with you in whatever way He chooses and HEAR Him. Jesus says, "'My sheep HEAR My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me'" (John 10:27, emphasis added).

Don Bell of Kingdom Anointing

By Don Bell, follower of the Christ.

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