There are several verses in Scripture taken in context that indicate Praying in the Spirit is much more than speaking in strange tongues. (Praying in strange tongues can also be done silently--but for what purpose if there is no understanding?)
First verse is when Jesus is in the Garden and He says: Matt 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Jesus is teaching here...not only about the current situation but also about the purpose of prayer...pray lest we enter into temptation. Notice He did not say "lest you yield to temptation." He is telling us to pray about those thoughts that enter our head and bring them to God so that we can dismiss the thoughts and yield to God's will, not our fleshly desires.
Note: "The spirit (lower case meaning human spirit) is willing but the flesh is weak." Jesus lays it out for God -- I don't want to go through with this, Father... is there any other way? Then He says, "not My will, but Thine." We should do this, too. When temptation comes our way... immediately bring it to God the very instant that we recognize it as fleshly desire or temptations from Satan. Confess it for what it is and God will give strength to overcome those thoughts... but --and this is crucial-- we must be willing to turn from them.
Next verse is Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. When they prayed they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Does this mean that the Holy Spirit leaves us and only comes to abide in us when we pray? No. Romans 8:26 states that the Holy Spirit prays for us. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is always within us and Paul testifies to this in Romans 8:14-16 For all who are moved by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry "Abba! Father!" In that cry the Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God's children; and if children, then heirs. We are God's heirs and Christ's fellow-heirs..."
Since we are joint heirs with Christ, we possess the firstfruits of that relationship which is the Holy Spirit.
We have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prays for us, interpreting our prayers and amplifying our prayers. Glory! Then Jesus is sitting right beside the Father and He intercedes for us. How great is that?
The next verses are 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 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.
Notice that the word "spirit" here is not capatalized. Paul is talking about his own spirit, not the Holy Spirit...for we do not control the Holy Spirit for He is God. We are guided, led and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If we pray in tongues in our own spirit...it doesn't profit or edify us anything unless it is interpreted. Plus our own spirit prays, but it is not the Holy Spirit's prayer if our spirit is praying. As in Romans 8:26 ff
"...We do not even know how we ought to pray, but through our inarticulate groans the Spirit Himself is pleading for us, and God Who searches, our inmost being knows what the Spirit means, because He pleads for God's people in God's own way; and in everything, as we know, He co-operates for good with those who love God and are called according to His purpose." New English Bible
Is this because we merit it? ... or because we are God's property? I don't think so. I believe it is because the Holy Spirit has His fingerprints all over us and God recognizes His new creation in whom the Holy Spirit lives. (But that is a different discussion.) The Holy Spirit prays in God-language and in God's will. So, how do we know what God's will is so we can pray along with the Holy Spirit? And to pray always...without ceasing?
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
We do this how?
to be continued...