Jude 1:20 says: “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.”
The Bible, on different accounts, charges the Christian on ‘praying in the Spirit’ or ‘praying in the Holy Ghost.’ Today’s text is one of such. Paul, in Ephesians 6:18 also says: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” This is clearly an important instruction for believers, yet one that we cannot follow if we do not understand. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit?
Some have defined praying in the Spirit as praying in a known language with words inspired by the Spirit. But what does the word of God say? Paul says: “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandethhim; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). He went on to say: “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Corinthians 14: 14). So we can conclude that praying in tongues is praying in the Spirit.
Here is a crucial point- When you pray with your Spirit, your understanding is unfruitful. Praying with or in the spirit therefore does not include praying in your understanding by the help of your Spirit as some suppose. It means to pray in tongues. Still not clear? The fifteenth verse of 1 Corinthians 14 clearly differentiates this thus: “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.” If we are repeatedly instructed to pray in the Spirit, and praying in the spirit means to pray in tongues, this means the tongues business is not for some select few. Praying in tongues is an instruction for everyone.