What does it mean to sing in the spirit?
To sing in the spirit is the same as when a believer sings in tongues in an act of praise to the Lord. When we are singing in the spirit we are worshiping Him through spiritual song, the same way that we praise Him through a natural song.
The only difference between the two forms of worship is that the believer is entering a deeper form of worship when singing in the spirit.
Here are some verses regarding singing in the spirit:
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 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.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)
Notice, Paul uses the term singing in the spirit and speaking in tongues interchangeably throughout 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. He says, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays” (v.14).
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
As you can see from the above passages, singing in the spirit should be a fairly important part of our prayer life. In fact, for the apostle Paul, it was a significant part of his prayer life. He not only wrote the above scriptures, exhorting others to pray in the spirit, but he also practiced it in his own life.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)
No doubt, Paul and Silas were singing in the spirit in this situation. We know this because in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 Paul says that in his own prayer life he switches between praying with words he understands and words he doesn’t understand, meaning tongues. (Related article: Is Speaking in Tongues a Real Language? Or is it Gibberish?)
This is also true for when he sings to the Lord, he said: “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (Related article: Prayer Life of the Apostle Paul & How to Pray like Him).
Another thing I want to point out is that this practice of singing in the spirit is what, I believe, Jesus meant when He said, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Paul also mentions something similar when he said, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
Obviously, to worship God in the Spirit is a whole lot more than simply singing to him in tongues. However, having this form of worship in our lives is a crucial part of a life filled with His Spirit.
How to sing in the spirit (step by step)
Step 1: The follwer of Jesus must first be Baptized in the Spirit
You cannot speak in tongues, nor can you manifest any gift of the Spirit, without first being baptized in the Spirit. I have many articles that cover How to Receive the Holy Spirit and Speak in Tongues and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (In-Depth Study).
You can check them out by clicking those links above. They will be able to cover this topic a lot better than I will be able to do in this small amount of space.
Step 2: Make it a daily practice to pray in the spirit
We are commanded by scripture to pray in this spirit at all times.
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
The apostle Paul even said that he speaks in tongues, in his private prayer life, more than all of the church that was at Corinth.
“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (1 Corinthians 14:18-19)
As you can see from these verses, Paul was not a man who taught one thing but did another. No, it was quite the opposite. If he taught the churches to speak in tongues at all times it was because he was already doing it in his own life and he understood the benefits of it.
So, if someone wants to sing in the spirit, they need to first learn to make speaking in tongues a daily practice.
Step 3: Make singing to God a part of your prayer life
Begin to make singing to the Lord and praising Him through song a crucial part of your prayer life.
I have already shown that, for the apostle Paul, singing to the Lord was a crucial part of his prayer life. But it wasn’t only the apostle Paul who sang to the Lord often. We see this type of praise all throughout the Bible.
We see the Lord Jesus when He was still with the disciples before He was taken to be crucified, singing to the Father. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26).
The psalms are also filled with verses encouraging us to sing to Lord. “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalm 147:1)
Step 4: Put it all together
Now that you have received the Holy Spirit, you speak in tongues daily, and you sing to the Lord often, begin to sing to Him in tongues during your time with the Lord and throughout your day.
What I like to do is to sing worship songs to the Lord, and then instead of singing the words in English, I switch to singing to the tune in tongues. I continue this way, switching back and forth.
Or sometimes I’ll sing in the spirit with a made-up tune that I never heard of before. Regardless of how you do it, it is all about your faith in the fact that you are singing mysterious to God in the spirit, and that He is guiding your words supernaturally.
I personally find that this is my favorite thing to do with the Lord because His presence is much more real to me when I am worshipping Him in this way.
Benefits of Singing in Tongues
You will keep yourself in the love of God. Jude says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 20-21).
You will build yourself up in the faith. As you can see from the scripture above, Jude says that we will build our faith as we pray in the spirit.
The speaker edifies themselves. There are many verses that reveal this. Paul mentions that speaking in tongues (a.k.a praying in the spirit) is mainly meant for the believer to be used between them and God, and as believers speak in tongues they edify themselves. (1 Corinthians 14:2, 4)
The speaker can receive a divine interpretation. Paul told us that when we pray in the spirit we should ask God for an interpretation of what we are saying (1 Corinthians 14:13). By doing this we can receive revelation from God because when tongues are interpreted it is similar to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:5).
You will bless God perfectly when you sing in the spirit. After Paul tells us that he switches between singing in his language and singing in tongues he says, “Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” (1 Corinthians 14:16). When we are praying in the spirit we are blessing God.
When singing in tongues the speaker is giving thanks well. “For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified” (1 Corinthians 14: 17).
If you want to know more about the benefits of singing/speaking in tongues, you can check out my article titled 5 Benefits of Speaking in Tongues.
How do you know you are in the Spirit?
You will know that you are in the Spirit because your attention on the things of the world will begin to slowly fade away, and your focus will shift and will be solely focused on being with God. Also, when one is in the Spirit they will often feel God’s presence in a greater way than before, although this may happen, it is not a requirement.
In fact, feeling the presence of God is often not a prerequisite, but rather a result of someone coming to God, by faith, apart from feelings, just willing to sit at the feet of Jesus. If we can do this with the sole desire to just be with Him, we will be “in the Spirit”.
It’s important to understand that the term “in the Spirit” is not meant to be some super-spiritual term. It really just means that you are more conscious of God, and the things of God, than the things of this world.
For example, the Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
Now although the term “walk in the Spirit” may sound pretty spiritual it really just means that we should set our minds on things above and not things of this earth. Paul actually goes on to explain this in the fifth verse of Romans chapter 8.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)
You see, we are all called to live and walk in the Spirit at all times of our day. And the only way to do this is to keep our mind stayed on God throughout our day by communing with Him and studying His Word. (Related article: 10 ways to keep your mind stayed on God).