What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also (1 Corinthians 14:15).
God is a Spirit, and to relate with Him you’ve got to do so from your spirit. The Bible says they that worship God, must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). You know sometimes, we tell people “relate to God from your spirit” and they don’t know what to do. They wonder, “Do I raise my hands?” “Do I leap?” “Do I just stay still?” Paul said, “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14:14). So when you pray in tongues, it’s your spirit that’s praying; you’re communing or relating with the Lord as it were, from your spirit.
Praying from your spirit or with your spirit lights up and opens up your spirit to hear and receive from God. Notice what we read in our opening scripture: “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.” He didn’t say “I will pray with the understanding, and I will pray with the spirit also.” Praying with the spirit takes the preeminence. One reason a lot of God’s people aren’t growing spiritually as they should is that they pray more with their understanding – from their natural minds – than they pray with the spirit. You can’t grow effectively as a Christian that way.
The Bible says “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 1:20). Praying with the spirit, or praying by the power of the Holy Spirit is more important than all the most intelligent words you could ever utter to God in your understanding. That’s why it’s so important that you learn to pray lavishly and fervently with the spirit, in other tongues.
This is the kind of praying that improves you; it causes you to be built up from within like an edifice and gets you charged with divine firepower. Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). That lets you know the premium he placed on praying with the spirit. Little wonder therefore that he recorded such phenomenal successes and victories both in his personal life and ministry to others.