‘There are several benefits to praying (“speaking”) in tongues that we can see from Scriptures.
“One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” (I Corinthians 14:4) The word “edify” means “to build up.” When a person preays in tongues, he is buidling himself up on the inside; his spirit is being strengthened. “But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 20) Praying in the Holy Spirit means the same thing as praying in tongues. Those who pray in tongues build themselves up, because their spirits are praying directly to God.”For no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Corinthians 14:2) This is a divine, supernatural means by which our spirits can come into direct communication with God.
HELP IN INTERCESSION
By praying in tongues, we allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us prayers that are in accordance with the perfect will of God. “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 KJV) These “groanings which cannot be uttered” include prayer in other tongues. “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit by the Holy Spirit within me prays, but my mind is unproductive.” ‘1 Corinthians 14:14 Amplified)
PRAYING FOR THE UNKNOWN
There are times when we simply run out of words to say in prayer, or perhaps times when we don’t even know where to begin to pray with our minds. In these cases the Holy Spirit is there to help us pray (not to pray for us, but to help us). Praying in tongues enables us to pray in cases where we do not have complete understanding.
WORSHIP AND REVELATION
Speaking in tongues is also a way of giving thanks and praise to God. In referring to a man who speaks in tongues during an assembly meeting, Paul says, “For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.” (1 Corinthians 14:17) The man who speaks in tongues gives thanks well; he himself is praising God, even though that particular giving of thanks does not edify the others around him, because they do not understand it. The point Paul is making has to do with personal worship of God. He also states that, “If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Cor. 14:14-15) Paul also states that when we pray in tongues we are praying or singing in the spirit, we can ask for the Holy Spirit to interpret it to reveal or give us understanding which our natural mind is incapable of. This can be very encouraging and help us to understand things for our lives only the Spirit can search and know. (1 Cor. 2:10-14)
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC BENEFITS
All the benefits listed above (and there are certainly more) are the results of the private use of praying in other tongues. There is also a public use for speaking in tongues, and this is what the apostle Paul addresses in the fourteenth chaoter of 1 Corinthians.
Many confuse Paul’s statement; “Do all speak in tongues?” (where the answer to this rhetorical question is “No!”), to mean that not all are to use their prayer language (tongues). But, Paul is simply making a statement about the abuse of public practice of speaking in tongues. If four or five men stand up in the middle of a service and simultaneously address the congregation in other tongues, then nobody in the congregation will be edified.
“I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also.” (1 Corinthians 14:18,19) Here Paul makes it plain that he speaks in tongues privately, but when he is addressing the assembly, he would rather speak in a known language so that all can understand and be edified.
The private use of praying in tongues always edifies and helps the person who does it. But when addressing an assembly, one should not speak in tongues unless there is one to interpret, so that all may be edified. So we see that God’s purpose is that we be edified – whether individually through the private use of tongues, or corporately through the public use of tongues and interpretation.’
Source: Daniel Fessler, The Fullness of the Spirit, Benefits, p 35-37
Read also “Speaking in Tongues” and “Spiritual Gifts are for Today” for more information.
Scripture quotations are taken from The New International & The New King James Versions of the Holy Bible.