Roberts Liardon tells us that as the numbers of people responding to the gospel grew, Lester was pleased when his younger sister, Leona, joined him. She had a beautiful voice, and she led the worship services, as well as preached a powerful message of salvation. Their dear mother had been well rewarded for her prayers, as most of her children were now actively serving the Lord as ministers of the gospel. The effectual, fervent prayer of Betty Sumrall had accomplished much! (See James 5:16.)
Listening to Leona preach God’s Word, Lester realized she had a gift of power that he did not. Although he had preached on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power of God for a renewed life, he had never received it himself. Somehow, the tradition of travailing at the altar had not brought him any results. As Lester watched others receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, he asked in anguish, “What’s wrong with me, Father?” Finally, one evening, after a revival meeting, he cried out to God again concerning his failure to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord spoke to his heart and admonished him that there was no formula for receiving His gifts and blessings. God would simply give the infilling of the Holy Spirit to Lester as a gift of His love. That night, in a room far from the bustle of church services or the “travailing altar,” God gloriously baptized Lester Sumrall in His Holy Spirit, and Lester began to speak in a new, heavenly language.