Personal Tongues and Prophecy

Personal Tongues and Prophecy

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A Brief Overview of Personal
Tongues and Prophecy – Ray E Horton

Personal aspects of the Gifts of the Spirit for ministry to ourselves are so important for accelerating our spiritual growth. They must not be neglected.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1). We are told to desire to operate in the spiritual gifts, and we do so in the motivation of love. Paul said, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Cor. 14:18).

I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Cor 14:15). “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues” (1 Cor. 14:39).

Tongues as our prayer language

Devotional tongues establishes the anointing for the operation of the other gifts in our life as well, especially prophecy

Tongues, apart from the tongues that require interpretation when spoken forth in the church, is our prayer language, and with it we can offer perfect worship in word and in song as well. Usually it is alone, but sometimes we can pray and sing in tongues together. It is like praying and singing to the Lord individually, with our focus on Him, but together in unity. Oh, the beauty of the supernatural harmonies and the joy of such unity in the spirit. This is not the same as the prophecy or tongues with interpretation spoken forth in a worship service.

Devotional tongues establishes the anointing for the operation of the other gifts in our life as well, especially prophecy, important for hearing the Lord in our prayer life, as well as to bring forth God’s encouragement, comfort and exhortation to ourselves and others.

This chapter of the Bible (1 Cor. 14) opens and closes with an admonition of the Holy Spirit through Paul to “earnestly desire” prophecy. Are we all heeding that word and allowing that desire to come forth in our hearts and doing it?

What is “earnest” desire. The dictionary definition of “earnest is: “serious in intention, purpose…sincerely zealous; seriously important…demanding or receiving serious attention.” It sounds like something we should pay attention to. The word used in vs. 1 and vs. 9 is the same: G2206 in the Strong’s Concordance, Greek “zēloō,” meaning “to have warmth of feeling for or against: – affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect).

Important for Every Believer

Ministers must not grieve the Holy Spirit by forbidding the use of the gifts when God tells us to use them. The secret is education and good teaching

Every Born-Again believer has the Holy Spirit and should ask for the infilling or Baptism in the Holy Spirit as well. That is the door to the gifts, and empowerment for service

There can be no doubt that we should see the gifts of the spirit, including tongues, and especially prophecy, as important and to be sought by all, according to God’s Word. They are available to all believers by praying for and receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the promised gift after first receiving the Holy Spirit in the rebirth.

I want no young believer to think that I am in any way more special than anyone else because the Lord uses me to bring forth His Word. That gift is available to every Born Again, Spirit-filled believer.

God desires for us to use the prophetic gift to bring forth words of encouragement and the “now” application of His written Word in our lives and those of others. Often these words come in conjunction with the supernatural gifts of the Word of Knowledge and the Word of Wisdom.

Some pastors and church leaders are afraid of the misuse of these gifts by immature believers. But how do they learn but by use? Ministers must not grieve the Holy Spirit by forbidding the use of the gifts, when God tells us to use them. The secret is education and good teaching. Every believer needs these gifts working in their lives.

The Gifts in the Church Service

[As an aside, let us look at the church service. In churches open to the present-day operation of the Holy Spirit, the leadership must assure that all is done “decently and in order.” When the Spirit of God is leading, a person with a prophetic word should ask permission to give it and come forth and use a microphone so all can benefit, and not shout it out from the congregation. Occasionally the word may be just for the person giving it, or the timing may be off, so do not be put off if the minister says “no” or asks you to hold it. Rather, write it down.

Leadership will learn who to trust with the gift: those with pure motives who are not speaking forth their own agenda but are able to get out of the way so God can speak as He desires, being also sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s timing.

And, if a prophetic message is off, it should be judged. A word from God will obviously never be unscriptural, nor ever bring forth condemnation. It is to build up the church. Usually, if there is a legitimate problem with a message that was given, the minister can call aside the person after the service and explain. If there is potential harm to the congregation, the minister can share scripture with the congregation and redirect to the truth in love without putting down or discouraging the person who gave the word.

We must remember that every prophetic word that comes forth must be judged, according to 1 Cor. 14. Prophecy will never contradict the written Word of God. Prophecy is God speaking through the filter of the human mind, which can get in the way and distort, so we should be in prayer, close to the Lord, with pure motives and no separate agenda in order to bring forth a pure word.]

Some of you may have noticed the timing of the prophetic messages or insights the Lord gives me to share from time to time. Sometimes, it is when I wake up during the night, or upon rising. We need to be still and away from distractions to hear the voice of the Lord in our hearts.

Praying in Tongues Sets the Tone

Often it is during Sunday morning pre-service prayer. Why is that? Well, we start off with 15 minutes of separate, individual prayer before coming together. That time is usually used praying in our prayer language before praying with our understanding. That sets the tone for the other gifts, and the anointing arises.

I encourage all my friends to spend time alone with the Lord, and spend extended time praying in tongues. If that gift is not operative in your life, know that it is for all, and ask the Lord for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. After that prayer, sometimes tongues will just come. If not, fear, pride, unbelief, past wrong teaching may be blocking, so learn more and ask someone who is spirit-filled to pray with you.

Also, with the teaching that tongues is the initial sign of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, prophecy is often ignored, although we are to all seek it earnestly. Devotional prophecy is important to our prayer life, helping us to commune with God. So, when I pray with someone, I will usually encourage them to be listening for that still small voice of encouragement, exhortation, and comfort.

Devotional prophecy Important to our prayer life

My understanding about tongues as the initial evidence is that it usually is, but there can be other gifts as signs. Not speaking in tongues at first does not mean you are not filled if you asked. God is faithful to His promises and answers our prayers. You are now filled if you prayed. But the Lord does want you to pray and speak in tongues, so do not give up if you don’t immediately manifest. Get alone with the Lord and allow Him to bring it forth.

If your prayer language does not come forth after you prayed, you may need some teaching on the subject in order to be free to let the Holy Spirit manifest in this way. The old “Life in the Spirit Seminars” were so good for that purpose. A spirit-filled friend or pastor can help. There are good books on the subject but watch out for the negative cessationists who wrongly believe the gifts are no longer available and teach against them.

{A classic book on the overall subject is Dr. Lester Sumrall’s “The Gifts & Ministries of the Holy Spirit.” It is available reasonably on Amazon at


Ray E Horton

Serving the Lord as encourager, reconciler, intercessor and prophetic teacher of God's Word, primarily in person and on Facebook, as well as writer and editor. Beyond, or as part of, the Ministry of Reconciliation that we are all called to, I am serving the Lord and His people as a minister of prayer at a local church, and encouraging the brethren locally among people I know, and worldwide on Facebook

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