Essentials to an effective prayer life
Taken from “The Work of Prayer”
By Dr. Sam Wolfe
As we draw near to the second coming of Christ, the church is being prepared for the final stages of the conflict with Satan and his kingdom of darkness. Many of the advanced saints who were knowledgeable of the invisible war and the ways of God have passed off the scene and most of them have not been replaced. Those Godly men and women engaged in more than their daily devotion—they were prayer warriors who were used of God to restrain Satan’s kingdom so that we could make great progress in the spread of the gospel.
Christians today are hesitant to go beyond their daily devotional type prayer and give themselves to a life of prayer in which they seek to accomplish definite objectives on an ongoing basis. They feel inadequate to continue what they begin. However, when you are fully committed to this work, God sees to it that you are well equipped.
We could talk about many aspects of divine equipment, such as being Spirit-controlled and filled with God’s Word, just to mention two, but it is regrettable that many Spirit-filled Christians who become serious about a life of prayer do not avail themselves of further divine provisions. I do not minimize the importance of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, but there are three essentials that do not come automatically from His fullness in our lives. We must be aware that prayer originated with God, not with man. It is His means of getting His work done, therefore He prepares His warrior-intercessors for battle.
If you want to give yourself to a life of prayer God will put you to work, but not without equipping you on an ongoing basis. God will initiate and continue a divine operation in your life. Please consider three things God will do for you, with your cooperation:
Establish you in the Work of Prayer
Paul made known the desire of his heart for the Thessalonians, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us … establish you in every good work…” (I Thessalonians 2:16-17). The burden of prayer and the sense of need sufficient to compel you to give yourself to a life of prayer do not come naturally; they come supernaturally from God. One established in the work of prayer never makes a statement like this, “Well the least thing I can do is pray.” When God establishes you in this ministry, you will consider prayer as the greatest thing you can do—a good work.
A life-long ministry of prayer demands that we be established. Unless we allow God to do this, we will not be able to stand the test and survive the perils the prayer worker experiences. You will face temptation that is far beyond the ordinary. Satan’s opposition will be greater and more subtle--because you will present a threat to him. He will use weapons on you that he does not think necessary to use on the average Christian. Consistency will require a measure of personal discipline you have not previously known.
Vision, patience, spiritual stamina, and strength are what we need for endurance and only God can give these things to us. He provides these things for us at every stage of our ministry of prayer. As we grow toward spiritual maturity and continue in the work of prayer, we move from one level of prayer to another. You may begin as an apprentice and grow to the level of an experienced prayer warrior. God knows where you are in your progress and He is willing to equip you at every level. Therefore, don’t be discouraged nor belittle your own efforts if you are at the apprentice level of prayer.
Enlighten you with Wisdom for Prayer
Paul said to the Ephesians, “I cease not to make mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened…” (Ephesians1:16-17). Paul goes on to tell them what he wants them to be aware of—such as the hope of God’s calling, the riches of their inheritance in Christ, and the greatness of God’s power.
The Lord’s disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Prayer is a supernatural activity that requires supernatural understanding and wisdom. Naturally, we cannot discern the activity of the hosts of evil. We do not know how to pray in most situations, therefore we need “the spirit of wisdom” to enlighten us. We cannot see in physical darkness—nor can we see in spiritual darkness. We must have the “eyes of our understanding enlightened.” And only God can do this for us, and He has promised to do so that we might be equipped for a ministry of prayer. One who is serious about a life of prayer will grow in his understanding and wisdom. It does not come over night. We must wait on God to equip us daily.
Enrich You with the Word for Prayer
Paul, in I Corinthians 1:5 expresses his gratitude for what God was doing in the lives of these believers: “That in everything you are enriched by Christ, in all utterance, and all knowledge.” One of the perils we face in prayer is becoming spiritually dull, dense, and stale. Spiritual exhaustion is a serious problem.
The word “utterance” means speech. Regarding prayer, it is the ability to intelligently communicate with God. This ability comes from putting down deep roots into the rich soil of God’s Word. This makes the difference between true spiritual sustenance and superficial hype. Continual steadfastness in prayer depends on our being “rooted and built up in Christ”—and that comes from feeding on His Word. To neglect His Word, or to substitute something else for the Word, is to limit your vision and starve your prayer life. God has no other way to equip us for an effective work of prayer than by enriching us with His Word.
I read the account of a man who stood overlooking the yard of a new location to which he had moved. The weeds had grown up to be quite high because of neglect. In the middle of the yard, he noticed a beautiful flower in full bloom. Curiously, he gave special attention to the flower because he did not understand how such a beautiful flower could be blooming amid the weeds. Looking closely below the weeds, he noticed a stem from the flower that had grown to be quite long. He traced the stem to the other side of the fence along side of his yard and noticed that it was growing in the rich soil of his neighbor’s flower garden. Then he knew why the flower was flourishing in such an unfriendly environment.
This “present evil world,” hostile to God and His people is in no way a favorable place. It gives us no support, but we do not draw our sustenance from it. We are enriched by the truth of God’s Word as we put down roots deep therein. May God impress upon us the importance of daily consistent reading of the Scriptures. They provide the lifeline of prayer—they are what God uses to Establish, Enlighten, and Enrich us for effectiveness in an ongoing prayer life.