Some people call speaking in tongues privately a personal prayer language. Whatever name they give it, the big question remains its biblical alignment; does the Bible support it?
Short answer, yes!
I usually wonder how people come up with such questions when there are scriptures that directly approve speaking in tongues in private.
I am so used to the scriptures that I barely quote them because I assume everyone has read them. But as it turns out, we are not on the same page.
If I speak from my level of understanding, it will definitely sound dismissive to those who genuinely don’t know the scriptures I am talking about.
The thing that annoys me about this question is how we neglect the most important reason for speaking in tongues and start worrying about the formula of doing it.
Speaking in tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will guide you in everything concerning this gift. If you have any questions, He will give you answers.
But if you don’t seek the Holy Spirit for answers but want to come and argue with believers who speak in tongues, then you deserve a harsh treatment.
Speaking in Tongues Privately is Biblical
The Bible tells us in 1st Corinthians 14:2 that whoever speaks in tongues speaks to God and no man understands him. This scripture does not specify whether the person speaking in tongues should do it in private or in public. We are only assured that nobody will understand him.
Why does the Bible not specify whether praying in tongues should be done in private? Because it is not necessary.
The important thing is for you to speak in tongues. That is what counts. Whether you do it in public or in private, it is up to you.
I know some people will fume at me because I have not mentioned the scripture where Apostle Paul says if there is no interpreter then someone speaking in tongues in church should shut up.
Well, there is a time and a season for every matter under the sun. There is a time when you want people to understand your message and there are times when you don’t want people to understand your message.
There were times when Jesus spoke in parables and times when He spoke plainly. Each was done for different reasons.
Waking up one day and saying speaking in tongues should be done in private is the work of a fool. Speaking in tongues is for us regardless of where we are at.
Speaking in Tongues doesn’t have to be done exclusively in Private
I do speak in tongues and most of the time I do it in private. But I know that I can speak in tongues wherever I want.
I have attended churches where we spoke in tongues all of us at once. And if you think we were going against scripture, I will prove to you that it was all fine.
There is a scripture that requires us to have order when speaking in tongues. But what order existed when the disciples of Jesus first spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost?
It is the nature of the Bible to show us two sides of the same coin. The aim is usually to let us know that value is in the coin regardless of which side is on top.
Take an example of the law and grace. Those are the two sides of the salvation coin. Without the law, there would be no need for salvation. Salvation came because we broke the law.
At the same time, there would be no salvation without grace because we can’t be righteous in the eyes of the law unless grace is applied.
Speaking in tongues follows the same trend. Sometimes speaking in tongues is done in private and other times in public.
The important thing is to know when to speak in tongues in private and when to do it in public.
I do practice this gift and I have experienced both sides of the coin.
There have been times when God required me to speak in tongues in public. I freaked out because I don’t like speaking in tongues in public but that is what the Master required.
When there is no requirement for me to speak in tongues in public, I do it in private.
Reasons to Speak in Tongues in Private
There is a time for war and a time for peace. If you want to speak in tongues peacefully, do it in private. But when it is time for war, God will require you to speak in tongues in public.
The Bible mentions to us that speaking in tongues is a sign for unbelievers. Don’t tell me unbelievers will be with you in private when you are speaking in tongues.
When God wants to use your gift of speaking in tongues as a sign for unbelievers, you will have to do it in public.
When you want intimate time with God, pray in tongues in private. Intimacy has always been an act reserved for the private space. You don’t want the world to see how weird you get when talking to your lover, do you?
But if God wants others to learn how intimate you can get with Him, He will require you to get intimate with Him in public. I have had very emotional sessions of speaking in tongues in full view of people and I couldn’t hold back.
After such sessions, people often came to ask how I cultivate such an intimate relationship with God. They even nicknamed me ‘The friend of Jesus’.
The rule here remains that God decides when you are to speak in tongues in private and when you are supposed to do it in public. After all, the gift came from Him and He knows better how it should be used.
Speaking in Tongues Privately: Conclusion
If you have the gift of speaking in tongues, use it wherever you are. If you don’t have the gift, ask for it. At the end of the day, the gift is meant to help us in our relationship with God.
You may hold whatever opinion you want about it but the person who benefits the most is the one who speaks in tongues.
The very Apostle Paul who was saying he would rather speak a few words intelligently than ten thousand in tongues is the same who spoke in tongues more than all the others.
You will be a fool to limit yourself to speaking in tongues in certain circumstances. That way also, the devil will have an easy time discouraging you from exercising the gift.