St. Paul in Ephesians encourages us to:
“Pray all the time asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion” (Ephesians 6: 18)
There are many gifts listed in the Bible. This sharing concentrates on those in the first letter of St. Paul to the Christians in Corinthians, Chapter 12.
This renewed focus on these gifts happened in the modern world when Pope St. John XXIII in 1962 asked the Lord. “Renew your wonders in this our day, give us a new Pentecost.”
The first one (apart from Mary at the Annunciation) in about the year 33AD occurred when the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus and began the first Christian community.
Thanks to Pope John's prayer and leadership, the Church changed from a wariness of new developments in the secular world, to an openness to the world loved and saved by God.
We just needed the renewal of the Gifts and to engage the world as the early church did in the first evangelisation. Pope John Paul II coined the term “The New Evangelisation”.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that those who believe in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3: l6).
Estimates are that hundreds of millions of people inside and outside the Catholic Church welcomed this prayer for the coming anew of the Holy Spirit.
Pope St. John XXIII said, “It is useless for me to speak to you in the Spirit if you are not listening to me in the Spirit.” For me this was a wonderful insight. I was encouraged to look at the ways the Spirit was revealed through the Bible and in the Spirit filled people of the Church.
Jesus taught this about Prayer
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask” (Matt. 6:8)
Yet Jesus also taught:
“Ask and it shall be given to you, for the one who asks always receive” (Matt. 7:7a; 8a).
Luke in his Gospel, says when we ask, the Father also gives us the Holy Spirit as well as what we pray for.
“If you then ... know how to give your children what is good how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him”(Luke 1 1:13).
In other words when we pray for what we need, our loving Father will give us another Gift that we have not asked for. He is telling us that this Gift is more precious than any other. In His opinion, we should be aware that whenever we pray we will also receive a personal Gift of the Holy Spirit in a deeper way.
The Father is developing in us an awareness, through the Gift of the Holy Spirit, of the high regard He has for us. The Father announced who Jesus was to the world, when the Holy Spirit came to Him at His baptism in the Jordan. He declared to the world “This is My beloved Son”.
When God’s Gift of the Holy Spirit and His Spiritual Gifts are released within us, the Spirit's Gifts for prayer come to us. He announces also to us that we too are growing in this awareness that we are His beloved sons and daughters.
This presence of the Holy Spirit places us in a state of confidence before our Father as He develops a loving relationship with us through the Gifts of the Spirit.
A GREAT VARIETY OF GIFTS:
St. Paul lists the Gifts that the Spirit of God chooses to give, as He sees fit for the needs of our community. These Gifts develop His relationship with us and empower us to pray for our needy world.
The Word of Wisdom: Flows from the Holy Spirit’s Love that guides or leads us how to speak or outreach to others for the building up of the Body of Christ. (Mk 10:20)
The Word of Knowledge: Is usually one word or fact given by which we gain information necessary to heal and renew members in the Body of Christ. It is a thought, word, picture or insight that seems to come into mind as we pray with others. (Ephesians: 1)
Faith: This dimension of Faith is a confidence in prayer that what we are led to ask our Father for will happen- because we know we are being led to pray for it. (Mk: 11:23)
The Ministries of Healing: God infuses His Power through a person or a team’s prayer to bring physical, mental, emotional, spiritual , relational, generational, genetic, memories, imagination, vows, grief/loss, addiction and sexual healing to others in an accelerated manner ( Acts 3: 1-10)
The Ministry of Miracles: Usually refers to extraordinary manifestations of God’s Power to help someone. General characteristics are: spiritual nature, moral nature (affects one’s conduct) general answer to prayer, usually seen by others, not necessarily dependant on a recipient’s faith and promotes another’s welfare.
The Ministry of Prophecy: Is the Holy Spirit in us speaking to a person or a group, words of encouragement and/or direction usually spoken in the first person singular. It can also be a faint picture understood or not by the recipient.
Discernment of Spirits: Is a Grace when directing or helping others to know whether we are dealing with God’s Holy Spirit, a human spirit or evil spirits. (Acts 8:23)
Praying in Tongues: The Holy Spirit prays in us. By using our voice to pray to God in a language we do not know which bypasses our thinking process. It can be done alone or in a group and functions in speaking, praying, singing, praising, worshiping, adoring God or delivering evil spirits.
The Ministry of Interpretation of Tongues: Is similar to translating a foreign language except that the person giving the interpretation of another’s Tongues does not know the language. The interpretation of what was said in Tongues is given directly by the Holy Spirit. The interpreter gives the message to the group for the building up of the “Body of Christ“.
Resting in the Holy Spirit: (being slain) is an experience of the Holy Spirit putting us to sleep or rest for a time while Jesus is operating and healing us. The Holy Spirit comes so strong that we rest in His Love for us. It is like anaesthesia during a serious operation.
Don’t touch the person while they are resting as God is healing and wait till they wake up. (Gen 2:21: 1 Chronicles 5:14; Daniel 10:9-12: Matt. 28:4; Jn. 18:6; Acts 9:4 & 22:7 Rev. 1:17.)
Laying on of Hands: Is where people reach out and touch you. They pray for a new outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit for renewal and restoration.
(Mk. 6:13; Mk.16: Acts. 9:17; James 5:14.)
We are called to fan into flame the Gifts of the Holy Spirit received at Baptism and enkindled at Confirmation.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are: Love, Joy, and Peace, Patience/Endurance, Kindness, Generosity/Goodness, Faith/Trustfulness, Humility/Gentleness and Chastity/Self Control. (Gal 5:22)