Paul gives us another reason to pray in tongues. Language is the best way to give thanks.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.” 1 Corinthians 14:14-17

Note that Paul said, “the outsider.” What did he mean by this phrase?

“Ignorant”? These are people who have not learned spiritual things. Paul was saying that if you give thanks in tongues, someone not instructed in spiritual matters cannot join you.

For example, suppose I accept your invitation to have dinner at your place, and you invite several other people to join as well. At the table, you ask me to bless the food, and I give thanks with my spirit by praying in unknown tongues.

However, the other people at the dinner are not instructed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in unknown tongues. Due to their lack of understanding on these subjects, they cannot say “Amen” to my prayer of thanksgiving. Why? Because they wouldn’t understand anything I’m saying! That’s why it’s better, in this context, to give thanks with my understanding. This way, those sitting around the table can understand my prayer of thanks and agree in their hearts with what I am saying.

Of course, it is always good to give thanks to God by praying in tongues. In fact, verse 17 says, “You give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up.” Paul is saying here that giving thanks in tongues is the most perfect way to pray and give thanks, especially when we are alone.

Now, people instructed in spiritual matters will understand if we give thanks in tongues. They may not understand what we are saying, but they can still say “Amen” because they comprehend spiritual things. They know that we are giving thanks well with our spirits!

However, in the presence of those not instructed in spiritual matters, it would be better to give thanks with our understanding in our own vernacular language. This way, others can understand what we are saying and be built up. As Christians, we have received the command to walk in love, and love always considers the other person and seeks ways to edify others.

This text is an excerpt from the book “The Power of Speaking in Tongues: Everything you want to know about Speaking in Tongues” written by “Kenneth Erwin Hagin“.

We invite you to read the following article “Praying by the Spirit controls your tongue.”

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