What is the conclusion then? 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. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen ” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (1Co 14:15-19 NKJ)
Good news and bad news! The bad news is that church is not a gas station. If your reserves are depleted all week, and you come just to get topped up, then you’re missing the whole point. The good news is that church is like a bank. You can come there on a Sunday and make a spiritual deposit of the excess that God has poured into your life.
Paul talks about spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12, about the need for love in the operation of the gifts and then in chapter 14, he speaks of the application of the gifts. So should I then pray in the Spirit or the understanding—yes! I should do both, but being aware of the situation and the circumstances. Remember, tongues edify the person, a prophetic word or interpretation edifies the body. As little as five ‘Spirit Inspired’ words can work wonders—long sermons don’t always equate with inspiration.