I Corinthians 4:19, 20; 14:1
I will come unto you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of heaven is not in word, but in power.
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts…
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is such a thing as a special calling to a ministry of intercession. Among “the diversities of gifts” which are dispensed by the Holy Spirit, St. Paul mentions “the gift of faith”—surely this is a special faith which manifests itself through the medium of prayer?
RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): In the same duty where gifts and grace are both required, as in prayer, it is more important to perform it with evidence of great grace than with great skill.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Prayer, you see, is not a work of nature, but a gift of grace; not a matter of will and parts got by human skill and art, but taught and inspired by the Holy Ghost.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The background in which I personally was brought up was one in which one often heard the expression “the gift of prayer.” I’m referring, of course, to public prayer, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it is a distinct and a separate gift.
Let me give you one illustration of what I mean.
I remember very well many years ago—I think it was somewhere around about 1932, as far as I can recall—I was preaching in a certain place, morning and evening…I had been preaching twice the day before somewhere else, and had travelled, and had got to this place and had preached in the morning, and then I had listened to a number of people giving a bit of an historical account of the church in the afternoon, and then there were large numbers of visiting preachers and others there to tea, and the result was that I began to be very tired. But I still had to preach in the evening, and I remember asking to be excused, and I went and slept. However, when I woke up, I found that everybody had gone out of the house into the evening service. And I was alone, and I rushed to the chapel—I got in just as they were finishing the first hymn.
Now, this is thing that I wanted to tell you.
After the second hymn, this man began to pray. And it’s something I will never forget as long as I live. I’ve described how tired I was―how I was on verge of exhaustion―but I remember distinctly how after this man had been praying for a very short time, I was completely revived. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man pray in public as that man prayed that evening. It’s very difficult to describe these things, but it was true prayer in the Spirit. And as he was praying, as I say, I was physically restored and revived, and was able to enter into that pulpit full of vigour more than I’d perhaps ever known in my life before. And it was entirely due to this man’s prayer.
And I remember commenting about it to the minister with whom I was staying the night. “Oh, yes,” he said, “Haven’t you heard him before?” I said, “No, I’ve never even seen him before.” And he told me a story how about twelve years perhaps before that, there was a great association held in that very self-same place. And the last day of the association consisted of preaching services, morning, afternoon, and evening, with two preachers at each session, and how all the best preachers in that denomination in Wales at that time were invited to preach at this great occasion. “But,” said the minister to me, “you know, after it was all over, and for many, many months afterwards, what the people were talking about was not the preaching of the great preachers, it was the prayer offered by that same man who offered prayer tonight…”
Now, that is what I mean by a “gift of prayer.” The man apparently was not a very good preacher; he was a minister, but he was not a very good preacher. His gift was this astonishing gift of prayer. Don’t ask me to define it, but that it is a very real thing there is no question at all.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We sometimes hear persons commended for preaching well, but if any shall be enabled to pray well, there will be an equal gift and a higher grace in it.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): To pray rightly is a rare gift.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I knew many people who it seemed to me received this gift of prayer in the Welsh Revival of 1904 and 5. In the baptism of the Spirit then they were given this particular gift, and though many of them afterwards became very ordinary Christians, if they took part in a public prayer meeting, they became transformed people, and it was amazing to listen to them pray. I’ve often found it difficult to reconcile such a prayer with such a person. I can only say that it must have been due to this particular gift of prayer, or in prayer, if you like. I don’t care how you put it, but that it is a very different and distinct gift, I have no doubt whatsoever.
C. H. SPURGEON: Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift?
F. W. KRUMMACHER (1796-1868): Brethren, pray that the Spirit of grace and supplication may be poured out upon you…Pray in the Spirit, in the Holy Ghost, and not in your own self-sufficiency, and you will pray with power.