I don’t pray in tongues that much. I think that is a mistake.
The first time I ever prayed in tongues was at a summer festival (Soul Survivor) in 2007 when I was 18. I was at the evening meeting (with 10 or 12 thousand other young people) when Mike Pilavachi (who leads Soul Survivor) talked about the first time he prayed in tongues (which is a great and hilarious story). After he had finished telling us all about it he asked if anyone would like to ask God for the gift of praying in tongues. He said to go to the front if that was something you wanted prayer for. Some people started to get up and go to the front. I sat there and I knew that was something I really wanted, to be able to let my soul connect with God when I had no words, no way to explain, even to myself, how I felt. I stood, I looked around at the other people who wanted prayer for this gift and I turned and walked the other way. I walked out of the meeting and back to my tent.
When I got to my tent I lay down on top of my sleeping bag and I prayed, I told God that I really wanted the gift of tongues but that I couldn’t go up the front, I couldn’t be in front of everyone the first time it happened. I told God that I was sorry I had run from the oppourtunity and I asked if he would bless me there in my tent.
I began to pray in tongues and it was wonderful. Then after a while I fell asleep, still fully dressed with pockets full of lumpy things. It was like God held me and let me rest in him.
At that time in my life I was struggling with something that was keeping me from praying properly, from knowing what to pray, from believing that God would listen to my prayers. I felt dirty and sinful and guilty and this experience helped me to connect with God and understand and feel his love for me.
I don’t pray in tongues enough because it’s easy to feel a little silly when what you’re praying sounds like babble. It’s easy to think that language that isn’t communicating something explicitly is irrelevant. Whenever I pray in tongues for a few minutes I feel so much more connected with God, it really is like I have reached out and touched him and his strength and joy have flowed into me.
If you want to experience this gift, ask God for it. Remember you still have to open your mouth and begin to speak and you may have to risk feeling a little silly but I have found it so worth it.
For me this has always been a gifting I’ve used far more one on one with God rather than in services. I believe that is usually best with tongues, after all if no one but God understands you then other people don’t need to hear it. Having said that, I have experienced some truly beautiful times when many believers have lifted up a new song of tongues in worship to God.
P.S I know many Christians who have never prayed in tongues. Whether or not you have says nothing about how good a Christian you are or how much God loves you.