1. Humans cannot seek the will of the Lord, but the Spirit helps us to seek the will of God (1 Cor 14:2).
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Rom 8:26).
The spirit of the world and the spirit of men are contained within us. If the believers are filled with the Spirit of the Lord, they will know the mind of God and seek his will (1 Cor 2:16), but instead of being filled with the Spirit of the Lord, those who belong to flesh—being influenced and guided by the spirit of the world and of men—do not know the mind of Christ and consequently, cannot seek his will.
What God desires to give us is something we could neither have thought of, nor have our eyes seen (1 Cor 2:9). Therefore, if we pray seeking the will of the Lord, we should pray in the following way: “O Lord, give me something I have not thought about. Dear Lord, give me something my eyes have not seen before. O Lord, give me something I have never heard about.
It is often the case that what we see and what we think are not the will of the Lord (Isa 55:8). Let’s go back and think of our spiritual lives in the past. Did everything happen in the way we have prayed? It was probably not the will of God. God has rather given us some things we have never thought about and some things we have never imagined previously. God did not provide me in the way I saw and thought about.
When I was battling tuberculosis in my earlier years, I wanted to get well so badly that I would not mind becoming a beggar, if I could be made healthy again. Yet, God did not turn me into a beggar. Could I stand before you and talk to you now, had I become a beggar?
When we feel frustrated, at times we find ourselves praying, “O God, take my soul away!” When your husband pains you in heart, have you not ever prayed, “God, even if he ends up on a hospital bed, please have him repent?” You certainly can pray in such ways. Yet, the Lord did not answer your prayers according to the desires of your heart, right? Had God responded to our prayers in ways we wanted, our life could have ended hopelessly.
In the past, I prayed to God, “God, take my life away!” Had God truly responded to our prayers as we have prayed, I could not be here, writing to you at the present moment. Why is it that we only pray in such an emotional way? Since we do not know how we could pray, and what we could ask for in our prayers, we simply ask in such ways (Rom 8:26).
The language of human beings is a conduit through which a spirit is being delivered. Through the words of a serpent, the spirit of Satan, was delivered to Eve, and according to Apostle Paul, the Bible states that the Spirit emerges in the following:
“My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4).
Thus, as Scripture says, “For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved” (Rom 10:10) and “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (Joh 15:7), only when men make themselves as conduits through their words, the presence of the Lord comes alive, and when conduits are not constructed, the Spirit could not exist. Since we do not know what to ask for, we could not open the spiritual channel, and God could not provide us with our requests. Therefore, tongues is the mysterious channel (secret) the Spirit opens up for us, of which we are not aware. That is why no one understands tongues, and this is a way speaking to God spiritually:
“For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor 14:2).
2. Help Storing the Spiritual Inspiration Within
In Matthew 12:35 is stated that the good person brings good things out of a good treasure. We store things within, either good things or evil things. Since God the Father is the only one who is good, when we store up things of God, we store up good things within (Mat 19:17). We have to store things of God each day. Keeping a status quo is not enough. We have to pile up things of the Lord. This is further to say that we would have to grow spiritually.
Would there be any happiness when a man and a woman get married but live away from each other? There would be no anticipated happiness from the marriage flowing from such a union. It is not enough to live with a thought only that my husband is alive somewhere. Likewise, one may live with such an idea due to not knowing how to store up good things like, “I am saved. I am guaranteed for heaven; since I am to go to heaven when I die, I will make some more money and live happily ever after,”
For what reason did God say, “Remember your creator in the days of your youth” (Ecc 12:1)? Not only should we believe in God, but we should also store up things of God within. Our body is the container holding the Spirit and love of God. The more we fill ourselves up with things of God, the more the precious creation work of God appears outwardly. Being awake and pouring ourselves in prayer is the only way possible to help us experience that.
Jesus said, “Be alert at all times and pray” (Luk 21:36). In order to store up good things of God, we would always have to stay alert and pray. By the amount of men’s notion, the notion of men enters us, we die chasing after the world (the devil) and we get hurt by men. To prevent the worldly things to come into us, we would have to be filled up only with the Spirit of God, the Words of God, and the thoughts of God. Only then, would we be full of the Spirit.
To help avoid the temptation and wounds of the worldly people in the world, and to stand before the Lord, we would have to stay alert and pray. Not only that we would have to believe God, but we would also have to work out our own salvation every day (Phi 2:12).
The mind of men is directly connected to a tongue. When one has a heavy heart, one’s tongue could become stiffened; yet, as his heart becomes lightened, his tongue could get soft. Therefore, by accepting Jesus as the Lord, when a man finds peace and has the mind of Christ by the presence of the Spirit in his life, he is to lift up the name of the Lord through the holy praise; consequently, he is to naturally to offer a spiritual prayer through the Spirit (Act 10:47; 1 Cor 2:16, 14:15).
3. By Telling of the Secret through Speaking in Tongues, One is to Eliminate (Isa 4:4; Gal 5:17) the Thought of the Devil (Joh 13:2) and the Thought of the World (2 Cor 4:4)
Our human body is a treasure in clay jars holding our souls (2 Cor 4:7). Into this earthen jar, three kinds of spirits continuously enter. Through the words of the world and the words of men, the spirit of the world, the thought of the world and the thought of men continuously come into us and get stored inside (Mat 12:35). In order to cast out the evil spirit (activity) already stored up inside, one acknowledges and confesses one’s sin and has to be washed by the blood of Jesus (1 Joh 1:9), being guided by the Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus that helps eliminate sin and the blood of Jesus that helps wash away sin, these two are most necessary elements that need to be present in our spiritual life (Tit 3:5; Heb 9:12).
As we live in this world, the spirit of the world and the spirit of men enter into our lives and get situated in us without our having any knowledge of their presence, and we get wounded and scared, though we did not desire them in us in the first place; thus, the Holy Spirit is the spirit of burning and cleansing to thoroughly wash away and remove them from us (Isa 4:4).
“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh”
As the thoughts of the world get piled up inside us, they certainly can weaken our faith. As worries and concerns press down on us, and as anxieties continue to be present in us, our faith gets weakened, gradually even taking away our desire to pray. In the end, we could not even bring ourselves to pray at all. Being weighed down by worries and concerns, our prayers only engender more worries and concerns, and we can easily end up not even feeling the presence of the Lord. We only feel God being so far away from us, losing any confidence of His presence; this condition is created by the spirit of the world (2 Cor 4:4).
To prevent the spirit of the world from entering into our lives, we would have to close our eyes and meditate upon the things above, that is, looking at the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and through him always offering a sacrifice of praise to God (Psa 1:2; Col 3:1-2; Heb 13:15).
God has given us self-awareness that can control the channel of our mind; thus, as we open this mind channel, the spirit is to enter into us through that venue. In the Garden of Eden, the devil entered into ourselves through the channel of mind Eve opened up to him (Gen 3:5-6). The thoughts of the devil enter into us through the channel of our eyes and ears and then get stored inside us and consequently, expressed to others; these thoughts of the devil dwelling within us then control our being, that is, humans (Joh 13:2, 27). In the same way, God positively affects us through the work of the Holy Spirit and provides us with faith, which will then guide us to confess with the mouth, which leads us to be saved (Rom 10:10).
That is the reason why Jesus had the people confesses with their mouths when he was healing those who came out to be healed with faith in him. Jesus said, “Do you believe this? It will be done according to your faith” (Joh 11:25-27). When we confess with our mouth, the spiritual channel gets opened up.
To eliminate the spirit (the devil) is the work of the Holy Spirit. The more we speak in tongues being inspired by the Spirit, the more we experience our thoughts and worries of the world dissolving away, helping our minds and heads being freed from them. Even the believers who have difficulty in praying for 5-10 minutes being captivated by the worldly thoughts, once they are guided to pray in tongues, then see what happens to them afterwards? They can readily pray for 1-2 hours without ceasing, and this is because the presence of the Holy Spirit washes away the thoughts of this world. That is why the more we pray in tongues, the more we experience our thoughts and desires of the world being washed away.
For an example, there are those who lose sleep over insignificant matters, constantly battling anxieties. These people tend to be the ones with the creative imagination, which is sent in the form of worries and stresses by the devil. However, when these people pray much in tongues, these phenomena will gradually disappear. For those believers who spend much time on speaking in tongues with faith, they can easily come out of traps, even when they get tempted.
When you pray in tongues often, your sensitivity towards the thoughts of the world, or your mindfulness of the words of other people, become less keen. Men usually are much more interested in the words of other people, and they always come back to souls; that is why people worry over even small matters when they do not get acknowledged by the others.
There is a big difference between the believers who pray much in tongues and those who spend much time speaking the words of the world. The same principle applies to our faith. Even when we hear in the presence of the Spirit the words of God asking us “Do an offering for church building construction, or an offering of thanksgiving,” those constantly under the influence of the worldly thoughts will not be able to respond positively, being pushed down by the spirit of the world. On the other hand, those with clean and purified thoughts being washed daily by their prayers in speaking in tongues, when they are told to do the same in the presence of the Spirit, they are able to offer that offering being freed from the pressures of the world. For those without any experience of praying in tongues, this speaking in tongues may appear to be a laughing matter, but praying in tongues cleans and purifies our souls, and this becomes the most wonderful experience for those who speak in tongues.
“If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (1 Cor 14:23).
When I was in seminary, they told us that, unless we spoke in tongues, we could never be ordained as pastors. Students worked industriously, speaking in tongues. However, as time passed by and students repeated the same prayers many times over, some students began to doubt the value of speaking in tongues. Therefore, we would need to be reminded of the importance of praying in tongues by reading the Word of the Lord. Regardless what we do, when we have obedient faith to the Word of God given to us, tongues only then becomes useful for us (1 Cor 12:7).
Apostle Paul gave thanks to God for speaking in tongues more than all the others
(1 Cor 14:18). The Bible tells us not to forbid speaking in tongues (1 Cor 14:39); yet, the culture in today’s churches does exactly that and not value tongues all together. Thus, we lose out much in our spirituality. It is because we base things according to the value judgment of the world.
“For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor 1:25).
Since speaking in tongues helps burn away the thoughts of the world, we would accept every one of God’s promises without any reservations and consequently receive much blessing from them, and we will fully accept and say “Amen” to every words of the Lord
(2 Cor 1:20).
People with the rational mind read the words of God through the common sense of the world, and for this reason they are often used as simple tools of the devil. There was a man at a certain church, who came to worship with a Bible commentary and tried to critique the pastor’s sermon whether the message matches to the biblical interpretation given in the commentary. Instead of listening to the messages to have themselves be touched and inspired by the words of God, when people begin to judge and criticize them, they themselves will get their judgment and measurement in the end (Mat 7:1-2). As we find ourselves speaking much in tongues, these undesirable character traits will be eliminated from within.
4. Through Speaking in Tongues (the Spiritual Fellowship) We Are Delivered from the Fellowship of Men (Isa 2:22)
“For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit”
(1 Cor 14:2).
Once the thoughts of the world and of men come into our minds and stay within us, even when we close our eyes to pray, the images of our wives or husbands emerge, interfering with our prayers. When being weighed down by the things of the world, or of men, the work and inspiration of the Spirit begin to gradually run dry (Gal 5:17).
As men being spiritual beings are to live by a spirit, we are to take in any kind of spirit (1 Cor 2:12). When we are not filled spiritually within, we feel uncertainties, consequently leading us to seek something to fill that vacuum, either from a video program, a newspaper, or novel; yet, when we indulge ourselves in speaking in tongues, we can escape from the aforementioned traps.
As we pray often in tongues, we will distant ourselves away from talking with other people, watching TV programs, or reading newspapers, and we will prefer and enjoy having fellowship with God (Rom 14:17). As time passes by with us speaking in tongues, we begin to experience divine peace and power within (2 Tim 1:7). When people focus on solely having fellowship with other human beings, they are bound to encounter trials and receive wounds from each other. When the liking solely arises out of the relationship among human beings, we then begin to dislike worship and prayer, eventually causing us to distance ourselves away from having intimate fellowship with God.
Though a pastor is just another human being, since he is a channel of God’s grace, a relationship with pastors are not in the same category as the fellowship among humans exclusively. Therefore, the relationship with pastors should be based on faith having its roots in the words of God (Heb 13:17). When people begin to critique their pastors from their human self-centeredness, whether they like and respect their pastors or not, this will not positively affect their relationship. Only through the relationship of faith based on the words of God, the spiritual channel gets opened up (1 Pet 5:5).
In churches we often struggle, not by material things, but by our relationships with other Christians. Therefore, speaking in tongues helps us by cutting off the relationship with people, which can be a hindrance to our faith; thus, when we pray much in tongues, our relationship with other church members will not be a bother to our faith, because this will help us develop our relationships based on the words of God, rather assisting us to have relationships in the presence of the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:29-32).
People can easily bond with one another and be united. A group of women forming a woman’s mission committee, a group of young men and women joining a single Christian group, elderly men coming together under the umbrella of men’s mission group, eventually working within an individual group created according to the needs of gender, interest, and social status. They set up their annual ministry plan and invite a pastor to come to their activity gatherings and ask the pastor to share a message with them. When this happens in a church setting, even pastors are viewed as invited guests and they themselves are the main characters in their functions. Since everything is decided and chiefly done in human relationships, pastors are treated not as spiritual leaders but more like dogs with nowhere to go, having no part in the group’s functions. Instead of honoring the pastor’s guidance, they insist on their opinions. In such a setting, the pastor cannot function as the channel of the words of God. Since people become intimate with one another through their human relationships, their relationship with the pastor can get easily pushed out.
Spiritual churches are the ones that move by the words of God with pastors being in the center. The churches should be built on the vertical relationship with God and pastors up on the top, not on the horizontal relationship, where the emphasis falls on human relationships with one another (Heb 13:17). To build the churches based on the vertical relationship, the tendency of people getting together mainly with their favorable people should disappear. Speaking in tongues helps create this kind of environment.
People being too keenly conscientious of other people have difficulty praying in tongues. The more we are conscientious of others, the devil works through these people, and the presence of the Holy Spirit will disappear (Gen 3:6; Isa 14:13-14). People praying deeply in tongues do not pay much attention to other people or the devil but focus on the Lord. It is because people with the mind-characteristics of little children are easily affected and inspired by the work of the Holy Spirit (Mat 11:25, 19:14).
Women rather than men, unknowledgeable women than educated women, young single women rather than elderly ladies, if the choice were to be made exclusively among unknowledgeable women, would be inspired more readily and speedily as they emphasize being submissive to God, less emphasizing on their own opinions.
This is one of the reasons why God chooses the foolish and the lowly rather than the wise and the educated (1 Cor 1:27-29). To understand this spiritual principle is to know and reap the benefits of speaking in tongues (1 Cor 14:4).
5. Weighing Down Soul Being Set Free
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luk 21:34-36).
The Lord said that at the end of the age people would have to stay alert and pray, not to have their faith being trapped in dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.
Humans have a natural instinct seeking pleasure. That’s why they are being dragged into the world. That is the reason the Lord provided us with an alternative joy that can replace the pleasures of this world.
“For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).
The worldly people seek the pleasures of eating and drinking (Matt. 24:38), but God blesses you with the joy of righteousness, that is, the joy of peace that comes from being set free from all sins, the joy of divine presence that God is with us, the joy that comes when we are embraced by God having all our pressures in life situations lifted off, and the joy that provides us with unlimited courage and power that enables us overcome all our obstacles (Heb 1:9).
When I was a student at a Full Gospel Church seminary in Dae-Cho-Dong in Seoul, I had a chance to witness at a city-run public wellness recovery hospital in Seo-Dae-Moon. There I met a young man named Jin Soon Han being treated for his tuberculosis. He formed a music band and traveled together all over Korea, even indulging himself in alcohol, drugs and other habit-forming things. From my witness for Christ, he opened up his heart and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. While praying diligently, he was blessed with the gift of praying in tongues. He once told me that, “Brother Lee, after being blessed with the gift of speaking in tongues, whenever I pray in tongues, I am as thrilled and happy as I was doing drugs.”
He was absolutely right. The worldly people sacrifice everything for a temporary pleasure, but the Holy Spirit blesses the souls being oppressed by sin and the devil and gives them the joy from heaven above. When the author was in the midst of despair being weighed down by illness, after being blessed with the prayer in tongues for the first time in my life I recall being so joyful that I felt like sitting on a cloud having such a divine peace and spiritual ecstasy.
In my church we had several incidences of people with alcoholic problems being freed from their chronic drinking problems after having the experience of speaking in tongues. Moreover, there was a church member always feeling anxious for being possessed by an evil spirit. After experiencing prayer in tongues, I have heard him sharing the story that he was completely released from the control and influence of that evil spirit. The most hateful thing by an evil spirit dwelling in an insane person is the prayer being spoken in tongues (Mat 12:28).
The Lord God is God of salvation, and he provides us with practical ways we can receive salvation. Everyone with the spiritual experience will agree and attest to the importance and usefulness of praying in tongues towards the ministry and the individuals.
6. To Help Us Maintain the Spiritual Inspiration To Be Guided by the Spirit Is To Fill Us Up Spiritually
“On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church (1 Cor 14:3-4).
The reason people in the world continuously lose out is because they do not see the real things (creation, the original world) but only see the vain images (empty things, fruitless things) (Heb 11:1-2). The vain things are those our eyes can see, things we can imagine, and things of greed and lust in our hearts (1 Joh 2:15-16).
On the other hand, speaking in tongues is to close our eyes and pray, being led by the inspiration of the Spirit; this helps eliminate the vain imagination and the desires of the flesh entering into us through our heads and minds, because praying in tongues is guided by the mind of the Holy Spirit and inspiration of the Spirit.
When certain things happen to people, being influenced by the thoughts of the world already indwelling in the minds and being confused by their mind perceptions of liking certain things and of not liking other things, people wander off in confusion. Yet, the spiritual mind, always staying alert and praying in the presence of the Spirit and being washed clean in the Spirit, that kind of spiritual mind will be ready to respond to the call of the Lord under all circumstances and will be able to receive help from the Lord who will provide the way out of difficult situations.
“All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work” (1 Tim 2:21).
During my 30 years of ministry at one church, all kinds of incidents took place. Since nobody can anticipate about things that will happen in the future, as a minister I always had to be ready and anxious, and when someone said something, I did not know whether or not I should accept their words as a face value. Under these kinds of anxious and worried states, I was, at often times, pressed to make uncertain decisions. The longer I served at this church, due to negative things that happened in the past I was easily pulled back into the past.
Whenever I was thrown into such a state, the one source that gave me the transcending attitude, courage and the determined power was the voice of God. Despite all weaknesses and faults, the voice of the Lord helped me stay put in my position as a clergy.
Throughout the history of Israelites and of the early Christian church, though all kinds of events, which were beyond the human control, had happened, whenever the words of God were present together, all problems worked out nicely in the end (Jer 1:4, 2:1).
7. Worshipping God in Spirit and Praying in Spirit (Joh 4:24; 1 Cor 14:26, 28)
The Lord Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (Joh 4:24). In this passage, Jesus clearly states that in spirit we must worship. The spirit of the Son is ‘the spirit of the fear of the Lord” (Isa 11:2).
In the Old Testament era, according to certain customs and procedures worship is offered at a certain place, at a certain time and through a certain order, but after the event of the Pentecostal presence of the Spirit, worship can be offered at any place and at any time, whenever being led by the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Joh 4:21-22). This is further to say, worship in spirit means the Spirit being the central figure in worship, and we being inspired by the Spirit is to worship God.
Through the four gospels in the New Testament, the main character has always been the Lord. Where the Lord went, that was where the disciples and people went out, following him, and everyone listened and worked in the way the Lord commanded. Likewise, in Acts after the reigning of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit instructed and moved about, and people spoke in tongues, witnessed Christ, repented and healed the sick (Act 13:2-3).
In reality, when people gathered together for worship, being led by the Spirit they worshipped God. In the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians, the contents of worship in the early church appear:
Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revealation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?” (1 Cor 14:6).
“what should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up” (1 Cor 14:26).
In today’s worship order, spiritual gifts (sacred things) are nearly omitted, and there remain only hymn singing, prayer, and teaching of the words of God; yet, in the early Christian church their worship was filled with speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, revelation, etc., and chiefly the elements of the spiritual gifts.
The passage from 1 Corinthians 14:23-24 states that “all speak in tongues…all prophecy.” During their worship in the early church, everyone participated in worship using their spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:26-32). Such worship can be described as worship being led by the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In another words, the worship at the early Christian church was not a religious ritualistic program, but in their worship were present signs and wonders, repentance and sacrificial commitment, and the joy of salvation and the presence of salvation from the Lord (Act 2:43-47).
Therefore, it is the same when we say worshipping God in spirit and praising his name in spirit. As it is aforementioned, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pay as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with signs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26) and “For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God…they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor 14:2).
Hymns can be sung in spirit. We hear the phrase, “Poems, Praise and Sacred Songs.” Poems and hymns are praise sung through the conscious mind; yet, sacred songs are praise sung in the inspiration of the Spirit. In Paul’s epistles, sacred things are referred as spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:1).
As you are well aware of, the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians is known to us the chapter of spiritual gifts.”