We all know we can pray for our spiritual gifts to be imparted to others by the power of the Holy Spirit. And if we desire a particular gift, or want more of it, we can ask for an impartation prayer from another believer. This is important as we obey Jesus’ commands in Matthew 10:8— “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give”—and the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Apostle Paul referenced this practice when he wrote to the believers in Rome, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong” (Romans 1:11) and to Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Timothy 4:14).
Speaker and author Dr. Randy Clark epitomizes the practice of impartation. At his Global Awakening conferences and on ministry trips to many nations, he holds impartation services for the teams, pastors and congregants to impart gifts of evangelism, pastoring, teaching and healing the sick, among others. Team members also pray for impartation over pastors, congregants and each other. This is a key exercise in “equipping the saints.”
When you pray for impartation, a number of things may happen:
- Some people may receive the gift being prayed for who did not have it before.
- Some who had the gift but didn’t know it may become aware of and begin to exercise it. It only needed to be ignited.
- Some already operating in the gift may find it becoming stronger as evidenced by a greater desire to exercise it and greater effectiveness when they do so.
- Some may find their gift surpasses that of the person imparting.
- For some, there may be no outward evidence of impartation. But since we know Jesus commanded all of us to heal the sick, for example, we know that some capacity to do so resides within each of us that can be stirred up. There may be factors that block it, such as inner healing issues, unforgiveness, fear, and so on, that need to be dealt with before we can operate more effectively in the gift.
- In a few instances, some may receive a commissioning to operate in the gifts to a magnified degree, even to the extent of a sovereign calling to an office, as with Dr. Heidi Baker, Leif Hetland and Henry Madava, for example, when Randy Clark prayed for them (see Greater Works, below).
Can I Impart What I Don’t Have?
Some say, “I can’t impart what I don’t have.” I don’t think that’s the best way to look at it. You probably already have at least a small measure of the gift in question, but even if not, you can still pray that God will sovereignly bestow the gift to the person you are praying for. Remember, it’s not you imparting anyway. It is God imparting through you, and God’s supply of whatever is being imparted or prayed for is limitless. Remember, too, that Jesus says, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19. Also see Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; John 14:13, 15:7, 15:16, and 16:23.).
Although not a requirement, I think it’s better to receive from someone who already has the gift because the spirit of that gift is already present, and it can actually “leak” from that person to you, sometimes without prayer. Also, there is an opportunity to learn from that person, giving you a head start after the impartation comes. The principle is the same as “If you want to be a carpenter, hang around with carpenters. See what they do. Do what they do.” Yes, it may take practice, but much of what they do will rub off on you if you have the desire, and you will learn more and faster. By the same token, if you want to learn how to heal, or prophesy, or teach, or whatever it is, keep the company of those who already do it more than you.
Jesus said, “Greater works than these will you do” (John 14:12), and that applies to impartation. “Greater works than Randy Clark’s will you do,” has been true for many people. Among the most notable are Heidi Baker who, with her husband Rolland, have planted over 10,000 churches in Mozambique and seen over one million people come to the Lord, countless healed and over 450 raised from the dead; Leif Hetland who has seen at least one million people become believers in 76 nations, including places closed to the Gospel; and Henry Madava of Ukraine who also has seen one million salvations through his ministry. All were prayed for by Randy Clark before these events took place.
Dr. Clark takes no credit for the work the Holy Spirit does through him. As he once explained it to me, “(to some people) this seems almost like I can cause an impartation to come upon anyone for a gift though not an office. (But) I am not sure it actually works that way. It seems to me, that as the word is taught and testimonies are given, faith is created, causing an atmosphere more conducive to receiving. However, it is also a sovereign issue. All are strengthened by the Spirit, some receive a gifting or anointing, and a relatively few in comparison receive a commissioning like Heidi, Leif, or Henry. This is definitely a God thing, and I don’t really have any control over who gets what. Though used in the impartation, it is much more like Balaam’s ass than anything I can take credit for.”
You are Unique
Note that none of those people has become another Randy Clark. The Holy Spirit works differently in each of us, so when we are tempted to say to someone whose spiritual gifts we admire, “I want to walk in your gifting,” we should refrain. That’s like saying, “I want to ride your bicycle.” What you should say is, “I want to ride my own bicycle, but I want to ride it as well as—or even better than—you ride yours.” In other words, “I want to walk in my own gifting but with a greater measure of it.”
Because God gave it to you, your own gifting or anointing fits you perfectly and accomplishes what God has for you if you will let it. Because it is from God it is powerful. Embrace your uniqueness as you see yourself through God’s eyes. Also, don’t fail to walk in power because of fear of becoming proud. God says just start walking and He will adjust your attitude. You will learn to be proud of your God!
What about Gifts Besides the Five-Fold and Healing?
Although there are 25 spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible, the most talked-about are the five-fold of Ephesians 4:11, the seven motivational gifts of Romans 12, and healing and deliverance. I didn’t think about the impartation of other gifts until I was on a ministry trip and met a man and his wife from the Midwest who were on our team. He was retiring from a secular career and planning to take on an administrative role at the church where his son was pastor. “But he’s not administrative at all,” opined his wife, with genuine concern that he clearly shared as well. I do have administrative ability and suddenly I heard myself asking, “Would you like me to pray a prayer of impartation of my administration gift to you?” He enthusiastically took me up on it, and I could sense his faith and confidence rising.
Six years later I ran into him again. While he didn’t claim to have become an administrative giant, he said things were going well in his new role, so I believe the prayer helped. I have experienced or observed this with impartation of still other God-given gifts as well.
Can the Five-Fold Offices be Imparted?
You might ask, “Can the five-fold offices be imparted by one person to another like the gifts of healing or administration, or communication, or music, etc.?” No, the offices of apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher or evangelist cannot be imparted, but the aptitudes associated with them can be, as can all gifts and talents given by God. The office is a calling and an ordination that can only be conferred by God, although such a calling sometimes may occur sovereignly during an impartation prayer as we saw above.
A Prayer of Impartation
Are you ready to ask for a prayer of impartation or to pray such prayers over others? Do you want to see greater works? Go ahead! It’s a normal part of the Christian walk.
Here is a simple prayer of impartation:
“Lord, I thank you for the gifts you have given me, particularly the gift of ________________, and I pray now that you would impart this gift to (Name).”
Then, addressing the person, “(Name), as God has gifted me with the gift of ____________, in Jesus’ name I impart this to you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Freely I have received, now freely I give. Receive this impartation now, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
Vary this prayer any way you like to fit the circumstances, and fearlessly step into the practice of impartation.
Adapted from The Five-fold Effect: Unlocking Power Leadership for Amazing Results in Your Organization by Walt Pilcher (WestBow Press) http://fivefoldeffect.com/