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Praying in the Spirit: How the Prayer Language Comes

Some of you may be disappointed, thinking that the speaking is very much your own and not the Spirit’s. Indeed, the speech is yours; you are right. but this is certainly biblical. The Scriptures say that at Pentecost the believers “began to speak in other tongues” (Acts 2:4). This happened to Gentile believers too: the Jewish believers “heard them speaking in tongues” (Acts 10:46). It is said of another group of believers that “they spoke in tongues” (Acts 19:6). Jesus, speaking of those who would follow Him, said that “they will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17). These verses show that it is the believer who speaks in tongues, not the Holy Spirit. Externally, speaking is a very natural phenomenon; it is only when it is done in faith by a believer that it becomes supernatural. Tongues outside of the context of faith (and the Faith) have been occurring for years. These counterfeit instances, disconnected from the Holy Spirit as they are, are vacuous, having no value and no meaning for the Christian. But as a Christian, you have within you the third Person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—who validates, certifies, and authenticates your speech. With the infinite richness of His power, He invests your utterances with spiritual meaning. Proper Christian glossolalia is human vocalization baptized with the divine authority and power of the Holy Spirit.

If you desire the baptism in the Holy Spirit but have been taught against it all of your Christian life, the time to test its validity has come.

If you have desired this experience but have not spoken in the Spirit, your physical being is resisting your spiritual being as well as the Spirit of God within you. It has been my experience that the believer’s faith is often helped by an atmosphere of prayer and praise. So if you know someone who, by laying their hands on other believers, has aided their faith, request that they pray with you. If you still have not received the prayer language, a spiritual inventory may be in order. Ask yourself: Have I sincerely asked the Lord Jesus into my life? Have I forgiven others who have wronged me? Do I still harbor guilt, grudges, fears, or prejudices? In faith, deliver these unto the Lord. Remember, you must believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift—it is not earned by spirituality. A look at the carnal Corinthians proves this. Also, you must believe that there is nothing “wrong” with you if you are at first unable to release the Spirit. But remember the instructions of Jesus, “Ask…seek … knock” (Luke 11:9).




Works Cited

Bennett, Dennis J. How to Pray for the Release of the Holy Spirit. South Plainfield, N.J.: Bridge Publishing, Inc., 1985.


Recommended books for further help:

Dennis and Rita Bennett’s The Holy Spirit and You (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1971).

Robert Frost’s Aglow with the Spirit (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, revised ed. 1965).

Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993). [Preview]

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Category: Fall 2000, Spirit

About the Author: Robert W. Graves, M. A. (Literary Studies, Georgia State University), is the co-founder and president of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting Pentecostal scholarship through research grants. He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). He edited and contributed to Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture and is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (1987 and Second Edition, 2017) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998).

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