1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
The prayer of “tongues” is the heavenly language which is a powerful prayer gift that we receive when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:4).
The prophet Isaiah prophesied about this gift in Isaiah 28:11 “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to his people”.
What is so powerful about this prayer is it’s not limited by distance, time or even your head knowledge. When you pray in your heavenly language you could be praying for your future or even a loved one overseas. You will not know what you are praying for unless God reveals it to you and that’s why Paul says, “my understanding is unfruitful”.
Some people think they must always know what they are praying for. But who said that because it's not in the Bible? Sometimes it is good not to know what you are praying for!
Back in 2002/03 I was in a season of prayer and spending most of my time praying in my heavenly language. My wife (Mary) and I were both Youth Pastors in Perth, Western Australia and I had a sense that I was praying for my future, rather than my present. But during that time for some unknown reason Hong Kong was deposited in my heart – I had never been to Hong Kong but the Lord dropped it into my spirit.
Well, if I knew back then what I was praying for it may have been too overwhelming for us. Because seven years after that prayer season the Lord dropped into our spirits the call to plant a church in Hong Kong. Finally, in 2010, we were ready to say “yes” to God but back in 2003 and just running a youth ministry in Australia, it was almost too great a stretch for us.
So I thank God that I don’t always know what I am praying for when I pray in my heavenly language. I simply trust God and continue to pray in faith that the Holy Spirit is interceding through me and everything He prays will come to pass in His perfect timing.
The Apostle Paul says that he “thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:18). Why is that?
It’s because he understands the pure power of the heavenly language. It is how you pray perfect prayers because the Holy Spirit is praying through you (Romans 8:27). It is how you develop the understanding and the art of operating in the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). It's how you edify (build up) your inner spirit man (1 Corinthians 4:4), it stimulates faith (Jude 20); it's how you intercede for the unknown and when you don’t know what to pray for in a given situation (Romans 8:26).
Friend, don’t stop praying in your heavenly language because you don’t know what you are praying for or it seems unnatural. As a believer, it will become the most natural thing that you can do – spiritually speaking. Yes, pray in your known tongue, but it will always be limited because it is subject to your own level of understanding and knowledge. But when you pray in the spirit – it takes you into the unlimited realm of the supernatural!