It has been well documented that he studied the Bible to prepare his messages (which were listened to breathlessly by tens of thousands) while upon his knees! It is clear to me that God anoints, not only those He appoints...but also Christlike character, diligent study and persevering prayer.
It is a very great error, even a delusion, to view the 16th C Reformation as having been a time when the "true" Church cast off the chains of Roman "bondage", in exchange for Protestant "freedom". It would be infinitely more accurate (and humble) to speak of a very great revolution...from man-made yokes to Spirit-inspired order and discipline. Today, many a local church pastor's life and work are made difficult and unbearable by Christians (so-called) for whom any kind of accountability and discipline is "legalism", and the freedom they noisily (and angrily?) demand is nothing if not a license to run wild and amok...with little care for either God or man.
Such would profit enormously if they listened to the Reformers themselves in this regard. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin "knew what free prayer was, but they also knew that in real prayer the fancy cannot roam as it will: there must be discipline." If we despise and disdain such discipline "we must not be surprised to find ourselves crying out in a void instead of offering a prayer that is already answered." (1)
(2) Almost all of those men and women who have been used in the past to reform and revive the Church's contemplative movement, were usually so gripped by their God-given vision that they simply "went for it". (2) I do believe that a great deal of potentially visionary prayer activity and ministry never gets to see the light of day because those "called" are not prepared to step out "alone". Their need for the work to be born fully-formed, ensures failure, because the task is never ever even begun.
One striking and modern example of this principle is "Taize". In the 1940s, the 25-year-old son of a Swiss Reformed pastor "randomly" settled in a small village in France, possessing little more than "a zeal to create community". Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche (1915-2005) believed that Christian community, glued together with prayer, was to be a redemptive expression and communication of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (3)
Today, the Taize Community's "core" contains 100 members; it all began with one young man, some abandoned farm buildings sheltering WW2 Jewish refugees and German POWs, and a dream! At present, in the summertime, the town is engulfed by tens of thousands of young men and women who gather to camp in the surrounding fields and experience together "the prayer and silence" which lie at, and are the heart of this contemporary house of prayer. It is salutary (and not a little chastening) to reflect on Frere Roger's conviction that the Taize Community is "a simple bud grafted onto the great tree of the monastic life (contemplative tradition), without which it would be unable to live." (4)
"(The kingdom of God) is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs...so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mk 4.30-32)